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Study Reveals Views on “Unacceptable” Food Ingredients

March 12, 2018
Post cereal packaging noting the product's ingredients list does not contain high-fructose corn syrup. Image courtesy of Flickr user jeepersmedia
Post cereal packaging noting the product's ingredients list does not contain high-fructose corn syrup. Image courtesy of Flickr user jeepersmedia

High-fructose corn syrup, MSG and titanium dioxide are the top “unacceptable” ingredients that American consumers attempt to avoid making food purchases across a range of categories, according to a study released by food ingredients manufacturer Kerry Group.

Examining consumer perceptions of 54 ingredients in six categories – baked breads, savory snacks, frozen meals, shelf stable boxed sides, ice cream, and hot dogs and sausages – Kerry’s “Beyond the Label: The Clean Food Revolution” released in October 2017 showed that high fructose corn syrup was identified as a top five “unacceptable” ingredient in five of the six product categories. MSG made the top five unwanted ingredients in hot dogs and sausages, frozen meals, shelf stable boxed sides, and snacks. Titanium oxide was listed as a top concern in boxed sides and frozen meals.

“The trends within categories and across demographics showed variances that can help brands understand where to invest based on specific consumer demands,” the company said in the report.

The top 5 “unacceptable” food ingredients for the six product categories were:

Baked Breads
-       High-Fructose Corn Syrup
-       Sugar
-       Cellulose
-       Phosphates
-       Mono/Diglycerides
Hot Dogs and Sausages
-       High-Fructose Corn Syrup
-       MSG
-       Nitrates and Nitrites
-       BHA/BHT
-       Caramel Color
Frozen Meals
-       High-Fructose Corn Syrup
-       MSG
-       Titanium Dioxide
-       Acids
-       Sodium Phosphate
Shelf Stable Boxed Sides
-       High-Fructose Corn Syrup
-       MSG
-       Titanium Dioxide
-       Palm Oil
-       Acids
Ice Cream
-       High-Fructose Corn Syrup
-       Corn Starch
-       Cellulose
-       rGBH/rBST
-       Modified Corn Starch
Snacks
-       MSG
-       Hydrogenated Fat
-       Acids
-       Maltodextrin
-       Modified Corn Starch

The study also found that the top 3 “no-no” ingredients for both Millennials and Baby Boomers were hydrogenated fats, high-fructose corn syrup, and MSG.

“Consumers want to see shorter and simpler ingredient lists that mirror a homemade recipe, with no synthetic or chemical-sounding ingredients. The top no-no ingredients were similar across generations; however, millennials are beginning to reject even added natural flavors and colors,” the study said.

To view more on the Kerry Group’s study, click here.

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