Prevention Magazine and Food Marketing Institute Reveal 19th Annual “Shopping for Health” Survey Results | Business Wire

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.”

Healthy Eating

  • 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

      less attention.

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%

    in 2010.

  • 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

    their pantry.

    • 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

    packaged foods.

  • 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

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

brand, with a U.S. magazine audience of 10.2 million readers, 8

international editions. A top digital destination

that's 2.1 million unique visitors each month, 28 million page views,

and 1.3 million newsletter subscribers. Each year, nearly 50 million Prevention

products are sold, including books, special-interest magazines and

bookazines. DVDs. Prevention‘s Twitter handle is

@PreventionMag and Prevention can be found on Facebook at

Prevention magazine and its apps are available on the iPhone and iPad.

Bill Greer, 202-220-0667
[email protected]
Lauren Paul, 212-297-1518
[email protected]