Secondary Data and Marketing Research

Secondary Data and Marketing Research





The past few years have been characterised by a remarkable change in consumer behaviour. One of the issues that denote the change in consumer behaviour relates to a growing recognition among consumers on the need for healthy living (Aune et al. 2016).In their pursuit for healthy living, consumers are increasingly making healthy choices with reference to nutrition. Nikolova and Inman (2015) affirm that nutrition is progressively becoming an important driving factor amongst consumers while making shopping decisions for food items. According to the World Health Organisation, healthy eating improves a person’s mental, social, and physical wellbeing (Romero & Biswas 2016).  The need for healthy eating has led to emergence of ‘clean eating’ trend. Emma, Stanton and Jamil (2016) are of the view that the popularity of the concept of clean eating has grown significantly over the past decades. Traditionally, the main concern of the concept of clean eating was elimination of pesticides in food products. However, the concept has increased to include other aspects such as growth hormones, genetically modified products, preservatives and artificial colours (Dennett 2016).

The foundation of clean eating entails consumption of whole foods, which means that processed foods should be avoided. Despite the increase in consumer’s knowledge on the importance of developing healthy eating habits, Cornish and Moraes (2015) argues that consumers are confused with regard to nutrition information and healthy eating. The increase in consumer awareness on the need for healthy eating does not commensurate with development in dietary eating habits amongst consumers. Thus, provision of dietary food products presents a viable business opportunity that investors in the food industry such as Nutri Deli-Café/Restaurant should on exploiting. 

Research objectives

Considering the prevailing gap between consumer knowledge on healthy eating and dietary consumption, this paper intends to address the following objectives.

  1. To explore the consumers’ attitude with reference to integration of clean eating habits. [Health, environment, sustainability].
  2. To investigate the factors driving clean eating.
  3. To investigate the sustainability of clean eating habits.  

Research questions

To fulfil the above research objectives; the following questions will be addressed.

  1. What is the consumers’ attitude on integration of clean eating habits?
  2. What factors have motivated consumers to integrate clean eating habits?
  3. To what extent is the concept of clean eating sustainable?

Secondary data analysis

            In the process of establishing business operations in the food industry, it is imperative for Nutri Deli Café/Restaurant to understand whether its concept of clean eating is viable in the target market, Cardiff, UK.  A study conducted in 2012 in Europe by the World Health Organisation shows that the European countries is experiencing a significant growth in the rate of consumption for whole food products. The UK is amongst the countries experiencing considerable growth in the number of households consuming healthy and whole food products such as vegetables and fruits (Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs 2015).

Despite the growth in trend with reference to development of healthy and nutritional eating patterns, consumers in the UK are yet to embrace the concept of clean eating. This aspect is underlined by a national analysis conducted in 2013 on consumption of food in the UK (Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs 2014). The analysis involved a comparison on the recommended dietary composition per meal and the actual dietary composition per meal consumed by households in the UK. Table 1 and graph 1 illustrates the study’s findings.   

Dietary composition

Eat-well plate ideal (Recommended)

Actual  dietary consumption

Milk and dairy products



Food and drinks high in fat and sugar



Fruits and vegetables



Meat , fish, eggs, beans & non dairy protein sources



Starchy foods




Graph 1

Source: (Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs 2014)

In addition to the above finding, a study conducted by Mann et al. (2015) indicate that the UK is characterised by a considerably low level of whole grain intake compare to countries such as US, Canada, Australia and Canada.

Factors contributing to development of clean eating habits

            The UK has over the past few years experienced a considerable increase in prevalence of diseases associated with poor lifestyle amongst households. One of the notable health conditions associated with poor eating habits entails obesity (Talukdar & Lindsey 2013). For example, between 1993 and 2014, the prevalence of obesity amongst adults in England increased from 14.9% to 25.6% (Public Health England).  The condition is not only prevalent amongst adults but has also affected the youth. The graph 2 and 3 below illustrates the trend in prevalence of obesity amongst individuals aged 16 years and above.   

Graph 2

Source:  (Public Health England 2016)

Source:  (Public Health England 2016)

Development of clean eating habits has also arisen from the fact that it supports environmental protection. Consumers have over the past decade become very conscious of their impact of consumption behaviour on climate change.  Thus most consumers are inclining towards ethical consumption behaviour. Wright and Larsen (2011) assert that consumers are not only concerned on the final product but also the process through which the product is produced. Clean eating supports production of food products through integration of environmentally conscious methods.

Secondary data analysis  

According to graph 1, it is evident that a most households are yet to comply with the recommended dietary health eating patterns. The graph shows existence of significant gap between the recommended dietary composition per meal and the actual dietary composition per meal. On the basis of the variation between the recommended and actual food consumption, it is evident that consumers in the UK are fully to develop a positive attitude towards integration of healthy and nutritional food consumption.  From the graph, it is evident that the potential for marketing clean or healthy eating patterns in the UK is considerably high.  Therefore, by introducing a portfolio of healthy and nutritional products, there is a high probability of Nutri Deli attracting gaining a substantial market share (Pieniak et al. 2016). One of the factors that explain the low whole grain intake in the UK is that the country does not have a national guideline on consumption of wholegrain like other countries such as Denmark, Denmark and Australia (Mann et al. 2015). This presents a viable market opportunity that Nutri Deli should consider exploiting.

Graph 2 and 3 indicates that different regions in the UK have experienced a remarkable increase in cases of obesity. However, the increase in consumer knowledge on the relationship between poor eating habits and prevalence of health conditions such as obesity and diabetes is likely to motivate consumers to adopt clean eating habits (Zuzanna et al. 2016). This aspect indicates there is a high probability that Nutri Deli will experience an increase in demand for its healthy and nutritional food products.  The increase in demand for the firm’s healthy and nutritional products is likely to be experienced across different regions in the UK.

Critique of the data sources

            The data used in conducting the secondary analysis is obtained from credible secondary sources such as the British Journal of Nutrition from the Cambridge University, the Public Health Department and the UK Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs. The studies are also based on effective research methodologies. For example, the study by Mann et al. (2015) is based on a comprehensive scientific study.  Moreover, the studies also involve conduction of a national survey which means that their research findings are representative of the prevailing dietary consumption in the UK. Therefore, the entrepreneurs can rely on the data in making investment decision into the UK food industry.


            Despite the fact that the secondary data obtained from different sources is highly credible, the data is limited in that it does not insight on the target customer’s opinion regarding clean eating. 

Conclusion and recommendations

            Analysis of secondary data shows that there is a high market opportunity within the clean food sector in the UK. This assertion is supported by available secondary data, which shows that a significant proportion of UK households are yet to fully adopt healthy and dietary eating patterns.  Increase in consumer knowledge on the positive correlation between poor eating habits and prevalence of lifestyle related health conditions such as obesity and diabetes indicates that there is a high probability of development of sustainable clean eating habits. Thus, the entrepreneurs can achieve long term survival by introducing healthy and nutritional food products. Therefore, by entering the UK convenient food market segment, there is a high likelihood that Nutri Deli Café/Restaurant will leverage on the inherent market opportunity. The growth in consumer knowledge on the relationship between poor eating habits and occurrence of lifestyle related illnesses such as diabetes and obesity further present a unique opportunity for the firm’s ‘clean eating’ model gaining substantial market acceptability.

In order to successfully exploit the market opportunity inherent in the UK food market segment, the entrepreneurs should take into consideration the following aspects.

  1. The firm should entrench an aggressive marketing campaign to create awareness of the nutritional and dietary value of its product offering.
  2. The firm should ensure that it continuously improves its approach to ‘clean eating’ by introducing new health and nutritional products in its product portfolio. This approach will enable the firm diversify its product portfolio hence increasing the likelihood of increasing its customer base.
  3. The findings of the secondary market research should be supported by a primary research. Thus, the entrepreneurs should undertake a comprehensive primary marketing research by conducting a market survey.



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Romero, M & Biswas, D 2016, ‘Healthy-left, unhealthy-right; can displaying healthy items to the left versus right of unhealthy items nudge healthier choices? Journal of Consumer Research, vol. 43, pp. 103-115.

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Wright, J & Larsen, J 2011, Eating clean for dummies, Wiley, Hoboken, NJ.


Zuzanna, P, Sywia, Z, Eliza, K, Moots, M 2016, ‘Sustainable healthy eating behaviour of young adults; towards a novel methodological approach’, BMC Public Health, vol. 16, no. 9, pp.  1-9. 

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