Food Economics Journal and NEXT Data and Insights conducted a study in April with over 2,500 US consumers on how people eat today and how it has changed over the past decade. Detailed commentary and insights are included in the newly released Ways of Eating: Special Report, which defines eating patterns and consumer behavior in today’s marketplace.
Our research shows that most people strive to be healthy, but everyone defines “healthy” differently. A majority of consumers surveyed, 43%, indicated that they do not follow any particular diet or diet. Other respondents indicated that they focus more on lifestyle choices than diet. Looking at the eating habits ranked next; Respondents said they reduced sugar, salt, fat, and calories, with 19%, 15%, 13%, and 12%, respectively. When asked about diet and exercise, about 40% of consumers said “diet has the biggest positive impact on my health,” compared to 26% who said “the biggest impact on my health is exercise.”
When consumers eat and shop in 2022, they said they pay the most attention to protein, vitamins/minerals, and sugar, at 43%, 42%, and 42%, respectively, all of which have increased since 2013. Organic has the most movement. Compared to NEXT research from 2021, the two highest increases – at 6 and 5 percentage points respectively – are “I make sure most of the food I consume is organic/natural” and “I want to learn more about natural and experience biologically”. Food.” The most notable change, however, is that the category with the biggest change from 2013 to 2022 was organic and natural ingredients, which rose an impressive 12 points.
These changes in our eating habits make sense — only 23% of consumers feel “extremely satisfied” with their current health, and while Gen Z and Millennials top the index on higher satisfaction scores, they still only do so at 29% and 33%, respectively. Understanding the motivations behind these diets and health approaches will help meet these consumer needs.
For more information, see NBJ’s Ways of Eating Report.