Research suggests that more than three-quarters of Australians are placing greater importance on maintaining or improving their health.

According to research released by Datamonitor, a similar proportion (71%) of Australians reported that they ‘make conscious attempts to eat healthily’ either ‘all’ or ‘most of the time’.

The data suggested that Australians are putting in a genuine effort to make more informed choices and in the coming year this effort will be clear in ‘a growing attentiveness to the nutrient profile and ingredient composition of foods’.

Nutritional labelling has emerged to become a hot topic in food and beverage marketing, not just in Australia but globally.

Nearly half (48%) of Australians report that they routinely rely on nutritional information on product packaging to help make food and drink choices, compared to a global average of 44%.

Katrina Diamonon, consumer markets analyst at Datamonitor, noted that this also applies to alcohol purchases – more than a quarter of Australian drinkers make choices with health considerations in mind.

“Looking at the number of low-carb beers on offer nowadays, it is evident that not even our beloved beer is immune from rising health consciousness. The implication is that, while newer health considerations offer considerable future potential, they are not yet mass market considerations. Marketers must therefore adopt tempered expectations when it comes to using the newest ‘vogue ingredients’ in health-driven product reformulation,” explained Diamonon.

Indicative of rising knowledge about the link between diet and health, salt has emerged as the new villain in the food industry, with initiatives such as the Australian Division of World Action on Salt & Health (AWASH) launching the ‘Drop the Salt!’ campaign to reduce salt intake in the Australian population to six grams a day by 2012.