Around the world, roughly 75% believe they “are what they eat”—a sign that today's consumers are tapped in to the latest health trends. While only 35% of Filipino respondents in Nielsen’s Global Health & Wellness Survey consider themselves overweight, the lowest in Southeast Asia, Nielsen’s study shows that Filipino consumers are similarly attempting to take charge of their health with 54% actively trying to lose weight and 97% willing to pay more for foods with healthy attributes.
WHICH HEALTHY ATTRIBUTES ARE FILIPINO CONSUMERS LOOKING FOR?
Beneficial ingredients are important for Filipino respondents: vitamin fortified (64%); calcium fortified (60%); minerals fortified (60%); and micronutrient fortified (53%). In addition, Filipino consumers are looking for functional foods that provide benefits that can either reduce their risk of disease and/or promote good health. Sixty-three percent of Filipino respondents rate foods that are high in fiber as very important, and more than half of respondents seek foods that are high in protein (52%) and have whole grain (45%).
When it comes to food that they eat, Filipino consumers are going back to the basics. Foods made from vegetables/fruits are desired by more than six in 10 consumers (64%), while foods that are all natural (60%) and those without genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are considered very important to 45% of Filipino respondents. In addition, close to five in 10 Filipino respondents say the absence of artificial colors (49%) and flavors (48%) are very important.
Less is more for Filipino respondents as they say it’s very important that foods are low in cholesterol (59%), salt (47%), fat (46%), sugar (44%), calories (43%) and carbohydrates (31%). In addition, foods that are gluten free (37%) are rated very important while the absence of caffeine and high fructose corn syrup are important to 33% and 26% of respondents.
Environmental and socioeconomic concerns also factor into purchase decisions. Aside from the high importance that they place on organic ingredients, 42% say local herbs/ingredients are very desirable and one-third think sustainably sourced (36%) ingredients are very important in their purchasing decisions.
HOW ARE CONSUMERS LOSING WEIGHT?
Filipino respondents indicate a positive body image with only 35% respondents who consider themselves overweight while 56% consider themselves having the right weight while 8% think that they are underweight. However, 54% of respondents indicate that they are currently trying to lose weight. Similar to the majority of respondents across the globe, Filipinos rely on tried-and-true methods to lose weight—diet and exercise. In the survey, 77% Filipino respondents state that they are doing physical exercises while 73% are changing their diet. Six percent of respondents indicate that they take diet pills/bars/shakes, medicine prescribed by their doctor, and use other methods not described in the survey, respectively.
Among those who are changing their diet to lose weight, nearly two-thirds (66%) say they are cutting down on fats and 62% are eating less chocolate and sugary foods. Conversely, 61% of Filipino respondents say that they are eating the same but having smaller portions while 60% are eating more natural, fresh foods and 54% are choosing to consume fewer processed foods (37%). There are respondents who follow a low-carbohydrate diet (32%); those who opt for commercial slimming programs (19%) and those who are following another non-specified diet plan (17%).
WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS
Given the high interest in getting healthier, “good-for-you” products are strongly positioned for growth. Fifty-nine percent of Filipino respondents say they plan to buy more vegetables and 57% more fruits in the next six months. In addition, 53% plan to buy more water, more fish and seafood (43%), juices (34%), bread (33%), meat and poultry (30%) yogurt (25%), cereal (23%), and nuts and seeds (22%).
While respondents intend to eat healthier, everyone needs a treat sometimes. Filipino respondents say that they expect to buy the same amount of some indulgent categories including cookies and cakes (45%) and ice cream and frozen novelties (40%).