- About 84% of American consumers of free-from products, such as allergen-free or trans fat-free, said they purchase free-from foods because they believe those products are more natural or less processed. About 43% said free-from foods are healthier as well.
- Among the most important free-from claims for consumers are trans fat-free, preservative-free, GMO-free, and sodium-free. These are above concerns about products free from common allergens, such as soy, nuts/peanuts, and eggs.
- "In 2010, 11 percent of food product launches featured a low/no/reduced allergen claim. By 2014, 28 percent of food product launches boasted the claim, the highest of any free-from claim last year," according to Mintel's news release.
Free-from is also important to consumers for environmental reasons, such as free-range and cage-free products, which celebrities have spoken out about. About 70% of Americans sometimes, often, or always consider a company’s ethics when making purchasing decisions, and 56% have stopped buying products from a company that they perceive has acted unethically.
Though most consumers are snacking at least once per day, many consumers believe snacks have less healthy ingredients lists than other foods, such as GMOs and artificial ingredients. "However, nearly one quarter of snack product launches in 2014 included no additives/preservatives (23 percent), low/no/reduced allergen (25 percent) and/or low/no/reduced trans fat (21 percent) claims, according to Mintel GNPD," according to the news release. Still, some consumers are slow to change their perceptions of snacks and their ingredients.
"Consumers are doing their best to make informed choices when it comes to free-from food claims, and they will hold companies accountable," Billy Roberts, senior food and drink analyst at Mintel said in a news release.
Major food and beverage companies have begun to adapt to the free-from trend, like when Mondelez International also announced its acquisition of free-from company Enjoy Life Foods in February.