Americans embrace healthy eating
Healthy eating has come to the forefront of many minds over the past several years with help from the First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move program and TV shows like The Biggest Loser, not to mention the extensive media coverage regarding the country’s growing obesity problem. Indeed, this increased interest in healthy eating is highlighted by new research from Mintel which reveals that just over two-thirds (67%) of Americans choose healthier foods to stay well.
“Consumers are more aware than ever of their own nutritional deficits, and what poor eating habits can do in terms of their long-term health,” says John N. Frank, category manager, CPG food and drink reports at Mintel. “As a result, today’s consumers are seeking out healthy food with greater urgency. However, skeptical or confused consumers aren’t likely to pay a premium for healthier food, making it hard for manufacturers to justify investment in nutritional/ingredient upgrades.”
Some 31% of consumers choose healthy foods to lose weight and 30% do so to maintain weight. Mintel’s report shows that the fact that these percentages are fairly similar across all age groups illustrates how widespread the interest in healthy eating is. This creates a growth opportunity for retailers, as they can create their own private label versions of healthier products to generate higher profits, fill a growing need of consumers and also reinforce a retailer’s identity in the marketplace.
Based on Mintel’s research, as age increases so does the likelihood that adults are maintaining a mostly healthy diet. Nearly half (48%) of Americans age 65+ say they pay close attention to how they eat, compared to only 32% of 18-24s. Nearly one fourth (24%) of the 65+ age group (the highest percentage of any demographic) say they do not exercise at all. This could be a principal reason for their healthier eating habits, as that is their main way of controlling their weight and health.
“Younger adults generally still feel invincible and have a more naturally active metabolism, making it easier to maintain their weight,” says John N. Frank.
Do people really know what’s good for them? Mintel research also reveals that women seem to think so more than men. Some 67% of males think they are a good judge of healthy foods versus 76% of females. Perhaps that’s because 64% of women say they read nutritional information on products, while only 56% of men do the same. It also appears like Americans are trying to create healthier children, as 67% of women and 57% of men claim to eat healthy food more often to set a good example for their kids.