The reasons behind such shifts in behavior are multifold, ranging from a heightened awareness of manufacturing processes and ingredients to rising levels of dietary intolerances. An increasingly large share of consumers avoid a number of food ingredients or attributes for health purposes, whereas a smaller share are restricted medically by what they can and cannot eat. As such, consumer awareness of claims on food and beverage products is high, as well as those who actively seek such positionings. Product claims have even been shown to increase the likelihood of a consumer switching their usual bread and dairy products without claims for those with.
Largely, these issues have arisen as a result of highly publicized food scandals and current affairs, such as the divisive topic of artificial sweeteners or the World Health Organization's report on processed meat as carcinogenic. Such cases have had a profound impact on eating habits with decreases in consumption of certain foods, such as meat and sugar. Oftentimes, the removal of these ingredients from people's diets results in their replacement by a substitute, as is the case for meat alternatives. Consumer desire for natural alternatives is strong and plant-based ingredients have become the rising star in everything from flavored drink products to refined white sugar substitutes. All in all, the health-promoting benefits of natural foods are seen as preferable to the added benefits of functional foods. The case is particularly strong for plant-based food supplements, which enjoy a large share of the European supplement market.