What We're Talking About

How consumers eat healthier

BY: Facts, Figures and the Future | DATE: July 18, 2014

More than 80% of shoppers make some effort to eat a healthy diet - while nearly as many (67%) believe that what they consume affects their physical and mental wellness.  Yet research findings within the Shopping For Health 2014 report suggest a looseness of purpose and a lack of commitment by most Americans to truly transform their health.

This Food Marketing Institute study is the 22nd annual version done with Rodale to benchmark shoppers' interests in health and nutrition, to buy foods and beverages accordingly, and to manage their wellness.  It is easy to understand from these latest findings why our nation is struggling with obesity and a Type 2 diabetes surge, we feel at F3.

If parents are the first line of defense for their children, statistics show that line to be porous.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say 33% of children age 6 to 19 are overweight or obese.  Yet just 15% of shoppers with children between 6 and 18 concede "any child in their household is overweight," says the FMI/Rodale report.

While 94% of parents "at least sometimes" buy nutritious foods for their children, less than half do so all the time - and 90% say they buy products their children like.  In a contest of wills, don't bet against the tikes.  

Back to the adults:

More than half of shoppers surveyed (55%) concede they are overweight by at least a few pounds, yet 62% feel changing their eating habits is too hard.  Therefore, just 33% put a lot of effort into healthy eating.

Small steps are most common:

  • 75% switched to a healthier version of at least one of 21 food types surveyed in the past 12 months.  A few examples - 37% switched to a healthier bread, 30% to a healthier yogurt, 26% to a healthier milk, 26% to a healthier cold cereal, and 20% to a healthier salty snack.
  • 58% try a new healthy recipe
  • 50% buy fewer processed foods
  • 47% try not to consume too many calories at a time, though only 17% count calories daily
  • 44% buy more fresh ingredients now, up from 34% two years ago
  • 43% buy more items with whole grains
  • 33% buy more foods based on nutritional components
  • 31% buy more foods with reduced or no calories/fat/sugar/salt 

When people do try to eat healthier, their efforts tend to cluster within three categories - they eat out less often, prepare and cook more healthy dishes, and avoid junk food, the FMI/Rodale report states.  The purchase of local food is up to 69% of shoppers over the past 12 months because the food is tasty and fresh or in season, and the practice supports local farmers.  By contrast, nearly half of shoppers say they buy organic foods - about the same rate as in 2008; and they're buying the same volume as they had a year ago.

The main incentives people cite for eating healthier are:  improving heart health (72%), having more energy (68%), and losing or maintaining weight (65%).

Link to Full Article:  http://www.factsfiguresfuture.com/issues/july-2014/how-consumers-eat-healthier-fmi,-rodale.html

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