In an article by Felicity Lawrence and Fiona Walsh entitled
‘From Sunny D and pizza to bread and water’ the British daily The Guardian quotes the British National Consumer Council’s food expert, Sue Dibb, as saying: ‘It looks as though we’ve reached the tipping point on food. Our research showed that two-thirds of consumers have made changes to what they eat in the last year. Supermarkets are getting competitive about health. Companies are having to wake up or lose their customers’.
Dibb was commenting on the news that Sunny Delight, once the UK’s third largest-selling drink, is to be removed from the shelves of the Asda supermarket chain due to poor sales, and that Northern Foods, manufacturers of biscuits, pies, pizzas and ready meals, has admitted that it too is encountering problems.
AC Nielsen market research figures show that the pressure on Sunny Delight and Northern Foods is part of a wider trend to healthier food. Sales of pizzas and frozen foods dropped by 9.2% last year, while most other products perceived as unhealthy — such as confectionery, bagged snacks and carbonated soft drinks — also slumped, while those perceived as healthy boomed, drinking yoghurts by 51%, juices by 15.6% and water by 9.4%.
Ethical investment analysts EIRIS recently compiled a list of leading food manufacturers by percentage of turnover derived from products that fall into the unhealthy category. It suggested that companies such as Unilever, Kraft Foods, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Cadbury Schweppes faced the highest risk of suffering a backlash.