NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A shift in thinking is happening in supermarket aisles across the
country according to Shopping for Health 2011, the 19th
in a yearly study released today by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI)
and Prevention. Published by Rodale Inc. What used to matter
most to shoppers is which undesirable characteristics their foods were
devoid of: fat, sugar, salt, calories, etc. Now, fortification and the
inclusion of key health ingredients are on the rise, with fiber (44%)
being the most sough-after component. Whole grain (36%), protein (27%),
Omega-3 (23%) and antioxidants (16%) follow.
“While the main criteria for healthy foods was previously determined by
ingredients it didn't contain, today’s shoppers are now instead
wondering what’s in their food, seeking to better understand the
nutritional components of what they eat,” says the Director of Consumer
Insights for Prevention, Cary Silvers.
About half of shoppers have bought cranberry juice, dark chocolate.
almonds in the past year, probably because there have been marketing
campaigns and news coverage touting the health benefits of these
so-called “superfoods,” so dubbed because they contain large quantities
of specific nutrients. Shoppers are also purchasing green tea (43%),
pomegranate juice (25%). Greek yogurt (21%).
Certain health claims are also proving to be attractive to customers.
When purchasing food, heart health (73%) is the top health claim on
packaging that matters to consumers. More energy (71%), digestive health
(66%). Improving mind health (65%) follow closely behind.
Despite this attention to healthy foods, lack of planning is trumping
health in the decision-making process at the American dinner table, as
72% of shoppers decide what to have for dinner that day. When same day
decisions for dinner are made, health (52%) falls well behind few taste
(73%), quickness of preparation (60%) and craving (52%). Lack of meal
planning is so pervasive that one-in-four shoppers (24%) decide what to
have for dinner within one hour before eating.
“The annual Shopping for Health survey is an invaluable source of
information for the food industry,”. Says Publisher of Prevention,
Laura Petasnick. “Each year, together with FMI, Prevention is
able to uncover American’s true habits, desires and behaviors from the
supermarket aisles to their nightly dinner routine.”
“Helping food retailers provide their customers with the information
they need to make nutritious choices and develop healthy eating
habits remains a clarion call for FMI,” says Leslie G. Sarasin,
president and chief executive officer for FMI. “As schedules become
busier and awareness of health issues increase, the consumer demand
for healthful options that are quick and easy for families will grow.”
Shoppers can take many routes to healthy eating, from how they shop to
how they prepare food to how they eat. Substantial numbers make an
effort in each of these areas.
44%, use a list when shopping for healthy food most of the time.
54% have tried a new healthy recipe in the past year.
Half of shoppers say they don’t actively monitor their calorie
intake on a daily basis but do make an effort not to consume too
many calories at a time.
About half say they're paying more attention to consuming fewer
calories than they did two years ago. The same share say they're
paying the amount of attention. Just 6% say they're paying
Taking Another Look at Labels
Most shoppers generally read food labels. That share has dropped
the last few years, from 71% in 2007 and 2008 to 67% in 2009 and 64%
Even though they say they're not reading labels as much, shoppers are
increasingly likely to say they're buying more food products with
certain types of labels. Attention has shifted slightly away from the
unhealthy side of things (trans and saturated fats, sugar/sweeteners,
calories) to the healthy side (fiber, whole grains, vitamins/minerals,
and protein content). In other words, people seem to be more
proactively looking for the healthful ingredients.
More than half say they've been buying more whole-grain products
in the past year. Example, at 5%, up 6 points from 2009.
The shares are also up for low sodium (42%, up 8 points),
all-natural (28%, up 6), low fat (41%, up 4). Lower/less/zero
calories (28%, up 4).
About one in five shoppers say they've seen nutrition labels on the
front of food packages. Whether or not they've seen such labels, 61%
feel they'd be an improvement over traditional labels on the back
or side of packages.
Switching versus Cutting Back
Between 2008 and 2010, shoppers became more likely to say they'd
either cut down on or cut out cookies and less likely to say they
would switch to 100-calorie packs. This latter decline may point to
the failure of prepackaged portion control as a healthy diet tactic.
50% of shoppers say that if they wanted to eat healthier when it comes
to salad dressing, soup, yogurt. Crackers, they'd either buy a
healthier alternative of the same product, substitute with a different
product. Switch to a 100-calorie pack where applicable.
Healthy Shopping: Timing Is Everything
Three in four shoppers say they make most of their food and beverage
purchase decisions before they get to the store, although they don't
plan their meals that far ahead of time.
Half of shoppers say they decide what to eat for dinner the same
day. Another one in four decide within an hour of the meal.
Beverage choices are made even closer to dinnertime – 62 percent
within the hour.
Younger adults are even more spontaneous than average. One-third
of Gen Y and Gen X say they make dinner decisions within the hour
before they eat.
Another element of spontaneity comes in when people think about what
they want for dinner in the context of what they know they've in
Only about half of shoppers make most dinners at home with the
ingredients they've on hand – 53 percent say they do this at
least four out of five weekdays. This means that almost half are
doing fill-in shopping using such tactics as shopping for frozen,
fresh, prepared. Missing ingredients or getting take-out from
restaurants for dinner at least a few days a week.
Refocusing on Kids’ Health Needs
Parents have regained some of the focus they'd lost in 2009 on their
children’s health needs. The share of parents who say they “always”
make certain food purchases because they're nutritious for their
children grew to 46%, up 11 points from 2009 and back to its 2007
level. A similar share, 47%, say they do this “sometimes,” leaving
just 7 percent who do it “not very often” or “never”.
Parents are also more likely than a year ago to say they “serve
healthy options all the time” when it comes to breakfast, lunch,
dinner. Even snacks – in all cases resurging to or exceeding 2008
levels. Dinners are the most consistently healthy meals, at 65%,
followed by breakfasts, at 59%. Lunches and snacks are tied at 47%.
Organic and Natural Foods
There was an up-tick in shoppers reporting any of a host of organic
food purchases in the past six months compared with 2009 levels, up to
45% from 40%.
Fruits and vegetables still top the organic list, although dairy and
eggs edged past cereal/bread/pasta and meat/poultry edged past
Cost is still the main reason why shoppers don't buy organic food,
cited by 67%.
Six in ten shoppers report having purchased a food or beverage product
labelled as “natural” in the past year. Among this group, the greatest
numbers say they purchased natural cheese (39%), yogurt (33%), tea
(33%). Cereal (31%).
The Shopping for Health survey of America’s supermarket
shoppers examines their interests and attitudes regarding health and
nutrition, their efforts to manage diets. The ways in which health
and nutritional concerns play out in buying decisions at the
supermarket. To purchase Shopping for Health 2011, visit the FMI
Store at www.fmi.org/store/
or call 202.220.0723.
Methodology: The data for Shopping
for Health 2011 were collected through an online survey, conducted
by Harris Interactive between November 19, 2010 and December 1, 2010,
among a nationally representative sample of 1,579 U.S. shoppers on
behalf of FMI and Prevention. The margin of error associated with
the survey is 3.0 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. All
respondents had primary or equally shared responsibility for his or her
household’s grocery shopping.
Food Marketing Institute (FMI) conducts programs in public
affairs, food safety, research, education and industry relations on
behalf of its 1,500 member companies — food retailers and wholesalers —
in the United States and around the world. FMI’s U.S. members operate
approximately 26,000 retail food stores and 14,000 pharmacies. Their
combined annual sales volume of $680 billion represents three-quarters
of all retail food store sales in the United States. FMI’s retail
membership is composed of large multi-store chains, regional firms and
independent supermarkets. Its international membership includes 200
companies from more than 50 countries. FMI’s associate members include
the supplier partners of its retail and wholesale members.
Prevention is the nation’s leading healthy lifestyle
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international editions. A top digital destination http://www.prevention.com
that's 2.1 million unique visitors each month, 28 million page views,
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