For many consumers, the term “free-from” indicates healthier alternatives to traditional fare. A report from Mintel as reported by Supermarket News found Gen Y consumers, particularly Millennial-aged mothers, are interested in products with “clean” labels and foods that lack artificial additives and ingredients. This generation of shoppers equates “health” with simpler product formulations and free-from claims. The study found 60 percent of millennial consumers (age 18 to 38) agreed they “worry quite a bit about harmful ingredients” in the food they buy. For the oldest consumers studied (age 70+), only 35 percent said they worry quite a bit about harmful ingredients in their foods. Fifty five percent of Generation X individuals (age 39 to 50) and 46 percent of Baby Boomers (age 51 to 69) said they worried about their food’s composition.
The report found that for younger shoppers and shoppers with children in the household, the elimination of chemically complex or unnatural ingredients was even more important than the addition of healthy ingredients. The research found millennial moms were more concerned than millennial dads. When asked why they buy foods with free-from claims, 50 percent of millennial-aged mothers said they wanted to avoid unnecessary ingredients, versus 30 percent of millennial-aged fathers. Likewise, 45 percent of millennial-aged mothers said they buy the products because they are healthier, versus 37 percent of millennial-aged fathers.