Out of more than 2,000 US adults polled by CivicScience in the first week of December, only 14% said during the holidays they pay less attention to quality claims, such as organic, hormone and antibiotic-free, low fat and free from artificial ingredients.
Meanwhile, nearly twice that – 27% of US adults – said they “always pay attention to quality” claims regardless of the holidays, CivicScience said.
In fact, the consumer research firm found 5% of consumers said they actually pay more attention to quality food and beverage claims around the holidays. This is on top of 25% who say they sometimes pay attention to quality claims, regardless of the holidays.
Given that these claims are most closely aligned with "clean eating," the findings suggest that for many Americans “clean-eating” is a lifestyle, and not a diet or fad that manufacturers can wait out without responding.
Indeed, this finding supports prior research conducted by The NPD Group that found half of “clean eaters,” or people who avoid foods with chemicals, preservatives, additives and pesticides, have followed the lifestyle for more than a year – demonstrating it is sustainable and likely to grow in the coming decades.
Saying one thing and doing another
Just because consumers say they pay attention to quality claims does not mean they all consistently buy these products, CivicScience’s poll also reveals.
CivicScience found that even though 27% of respondents said they always pay attention to quality, only 11% said they buy better-for-you food for holiday meals “every chance” they get.
Another 15% of poll participants said they buy better-for-you food for holiday meals “if it is convenient,” which should not be surprising given how hectic the holiday season can be.
An additional 27% of respondents said they occasionally buy these foods, “but not often,” which closely mirrors the 30% of US consumers who told CivicScience they rarely or never pay attention to quality claims – regardless of the holidays.
This suggests that if manufacturers of healthier alternative products want to increase their chances of having a place at holiday tables they need to be easy to find in stores and may need to offer consumers something beyond nutrition and health claims. For example, products that offer convenience in the form of time savings, portability or a low-stress meal solution that does not require many other ingredients may be more likely to end up in consumers carts and at holiday buffets.