When it comes to healthy eating, the majority of Americans think they can be doing a better job. Despite the fact that we’re seeing widespread interest in whole foods, only 42% of Americans believe their diets are healthy and almost a quarter are concerned they’re not getting adequate nutrition. Amid a growing body of conflicting information and health claims, consumers are increasingly confused and skeptical that brands are delivering on their promises.
Different Generations, Different Health Concerns
Consumers are no longer interested in one-size-fits-all approaches to nutrition and are seeking personalized diets that address their own health concerns. Although obesity, anxiety, and stress are common health issues across all demographics, 17% of Millennials cite food allergies and sensitivities among the top health concerns for themselves or their families. As consumers approach middle age, concerns may change: 16% of Gen X’ers struggle with frequent insomnia and other sleep disorders and almost a quarter of Baby Boomers and older citizens actively manage diabetes. Regardless of age, 61% of all Americans are concerned about their health in general and 44% say they food they eat has too much of something I need to avoid.
Don’t Eat This
For the past decade, consumers have been warned about the dangers of high fructose corn syrup, so it’s no surprise that half of all consumers actively avoid it. The health conscious also actively avoid added sugar (47%) trans fats (45%) and saturated fats (43%). A growing number of consumers are actively avoiding products with “artificial” additives: artificial sweeteners (43%), artificial preservatives (38%) and artificial flavors (35%). Debate about the safety of genetically modified foods is also scaring consumers—researchers found that 46% of consumers believe they’re “suitable for no one” and another 22% say they wouldn’t feed them to their family.
Personalized approaches to wellness call for differentiation in diet, but across the board, 63% of consumers agree they want more protein, fiber (61%), and whole grains (57%) in their diet. Researchers found that when consumers eat foods they believe are healthier for them, it does more than impact their waistline, 47% of consumers say that what they eat impacts their emotional well-being.
Americans shop for food with health and wellness priorities that go beyond basic safety standards. Sixty-six percent of consumers actively avoid ingredients they view as negative and more than a quarter seek products specifically enhanced for nutrition. The majority of consumers want to know the foods they buy sustain the health of themselves, their families, and the broader community. Brands and retailers can help shoppers by guiding them to attributes and claims that ladder up to these benefits (organic, natural, local, non-GMO) and play a proactive role in helping shoppers navigate their food choices to achieve better outcomes.
Women’s Marketing offers a suite of marketing services that helps brands to communicate more effectively with consumers when and where they will be most receptive to your message. Contact us today to learn how we can help your brand reach those consumers that matter most.
Sources: Mintel Better For You Eating Trends Spotlight on Real, U.S. July 2016 Hartman Group Grocery Trends 2016,