Nutrition top of list when it comes to shopping, survey

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Family health and nutrition concerns are increasingly influencing
household food purchases in the US, according to a new study by the
Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and Prevention magazine.

The annual study reveals that a growing number of Americans are opting for organic products in an effort to improve the nutritional value of their diets.

"Today's consumers are more aware of diet and nutrition, and they express a strong desire to live a healthier lifestyle than they do now,"​ said Prevention​ vice president Richard Alleger.

According to the report, 60 percent of consumers believed their diets could be healthier, with the figure rising to 70 percent for families with children.

Primary reasons cited for seeking a healthier diet included losing weight (42 percent), preventing health problems later on in life (39 percent), following a doctor's advice (30 percent), or managing a medical condition (28 percent).

The reasons cited for not eating more healthfully included time constraints, the high cost of healthy foods and conflicting information about what is healthy.

The report, which was based on telephone surveys of 1,000 primary household shoppers throughout the nation, also revealed that a major concern was the poor nutritional quality of foods consumed by children.

Although two thirds of shoppers said they almost always buy nutritious food products for their children, over half said they still have problems ensuring their children have a healthy diet.

This is partly a result of the conflict between home and school nutrition.

Whereas 65 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with the nutritional value of lunches children brought from home, only 28 percent said they were happy with the nutritional quality of school lunches.

According to the report, consumers are increasingly turning to organic foods as a way to improve their diets.

Primary reasons cited for turning organic include better nutritional value, a higher level of freshness, more benefits to long-term health and better taste.

Most of these products, the report adds, are purchased from supermarkets (48 percent), followed by organic or natural food stores (18 percent), super centers (15 percent) and farmers' markets (8 percent).

Fruit and vegetables remain the most frequently purchased organic goods, followed by cereals, breads and pastas.

Dairy products, which are next in line, are showing the strongest growth, said the report.

Other popular organic goods include packaged and frozen foods, eggs, meat and poultry, and soups and sauces.

The report also found that the availability of health and nutrition information was very important to consumers.

"Shoppers are moving toward healthier diets and are looking for guidance in making decisions about food purchases,"​ said FMI senior vice president Michael Sansolo.

Related topics: Suppliers

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