New survey finds that attitudes of fats remain consistent, but more consumers seek sustainability

October 12, 2020

Cargill’s most recent FATitudes Survey focusing on 560 U.S.-based primary grocery shoppers in May of 2020 found that 53% of American consumers closely monitor fats and oils in packaged foods.

Cargill’s (Minneapolis, MN) most recent FATitudes Survey focusing on 560 U.S.-based primary grocery shoppers in May of 2020 found that 53% of American consumers closely monitor fats and oils in packaged foods. According to Cargill, this rate has remained relatively steady since 2013, when the firm first began conducting this annual survey.

“These findings are particularly relevant now given the pandemic-inspired rise in packaged food consumption,” says Jamie Mavec, marketing manager for Cargill’s global edible oils business in North America, in a press release. “As consumers weigh the healthfulness of their overall diet, it’s clear that fats and oils are a key part of that equation.”

One notable change from past surveys, however, is shoppers’ interest in sustainability claims, with 37% of survey respondents saying they were more likely to purchase a packaged food product with a sustainability claim. This is a 6% increase compared to 2019 results for U.S. consumers, says Cargill. Sustainability claims resonate most strongly with Gen Z and millennial shoppers, with 45% of Gen Z and 42% of millennials saying they were more likely to purchase products with sustainability claims, compared to 32% of baby boomers.

Among the claims with the most influence is “no saturated fat” with 53% of consumers stating they were more likely to purchase products making this claim, exceeding demand for non-GMO and organic product claims which influence purchasing decisions for 44% and 43% of American consumers, respectively. The survey also found that the top five oils with the highest impact on packaged food purchases were olive oil (50%), avocado oil (36%), coconut oil (30%), fish oil (28%), and sunflower oil (25%).

“FATitudes helps us balance consumer preferences alongside customer formulations needs, enabling us to fully leverage our broad portfolio of fats and oils, or even inform us as we create custom options for specific applications or needs,” explains John Satumba, research and development director for Cargill’s global edible oils business in North America. “By fielding this type of research, we’re better positioned to help our customers innovate in ways that align with consumer desires for healthful, sustainable and cost-effective products.”