While Interest in Healthy Eating Grows, Lack of Trust Is an Issue

Even though interest in better-for-you foods continues to rise, less than half of Americans consider their diet to be healthy.

Less than half of Americans consider their diet to be healthy according to Mintel’s recent press release announcing their new report, “Better-for-you Eating Trends: Spotlight on Real – US – September 2016.”

According to Mintel’s research, trust appears to be one issue. Only 16% of consumers trust the health claims on food and beverage packages. In addition, only 14% of consumers believe regulatory approval indicates a food is healthy.

Cost is also an issue, as many consumers aren’t willing to pay more for healthy foods, with only 385 agreeing that “healthy” foods are worth the added expense.

A percentage of consumers take the path of eluding certain ingredients. Some health-conscious shoppers are avoiding foods and beverages containing high-fructose corn syrup (50%), sugar (47%), trans fat (45%) and saturated fat (43%). For one-third of consumers, a healthy food is defined, in part, by what it does not contain as opposed to being labeled as “natural” or “good for you”.2

The number of consumers paying attention to their sodium intake is going up. When asked if they “compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals, and choose the foods with lower numbers” – 42% of consumers are “doing it more than a year” in 2016 vs. only 36% in 2015. 2

Some good news is that 27% of shoppers report that health concerns influence their choice of food and nearly one quarter say they are more likely to purchase food with a health claim on the package than food without. As far as healthy ingredients for which Americans are searching, 63% are interested in protein, 61% want fiber and 57% look for whole grains when buying foods they consider healthy. Mintel suggests that food manufacturers should be adding appropriate positioning and claims to their packaging to increase their audiences.

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1 Mintel Group Ltd. “Resolution Refresh: Less Than Half of Americans Consider Their Diet to Be Healthy.” 17 Jan 2017. Accessed on 13 Feb 2017. Retrieved from http://www.mintel.com/press-centre/food-and-drink/resolution-refresh-less-than-half-of-americans-consider-their-diet-to-be-healthy

2 http://www.foodinsight.org/sites/default/files/2016-Food-and-Health-Survey-Report_FINAL1.pdf