"Danone believes in a future where nutrition is more available, accessible and equitable—our vision is for a more inclusive state of nutrition where consumers have agency over their health, through food," said Shane Grant, Group Deputy CEO for Danone in the press release. "At Danone, our mission is to bring health through food to as many people as possible, but we cannot act alone. Improving nutrition equality at scale will require partnership across sectors for transformational change."
What food accessibility means to consumer health
As part of its State of Nutrition Equality Study, Danone surveyed 4,000 Americans across socio- and economic factors to determine how they feel about health- and food-related issues, and found a deep concern about food accessibility and how it is impacting their health.
Danone found 87% of consumers said that the most important issues facing Americans today is food access, which Danone defined as including food availability, affordability, quality, and security. This fell just below the economy at 88%, and ahead of jobs at 77% and climate at 70%. Sixty percent of American consumers don’t eat “very nutritious foods” because of economic and physical barriers, Danone reported.
Danone’s study supports Mintel’s recent sustainability report that found consumers are deeply concerned around food and water access. In a survey of global consumers, Mintel found that 35% of consumers are concerned with water security, up from 31% in 2022, and more US consumers were citing concerns around food security.
When it comes to the specific factors that are impacting access to nutritious food, 79% of consumers cited income, 61% region, and 52% education level. Additionally, 43% of consumers believe that lack of transportation and other physical barriers to nutritious food are impacting Black communities.
How consumers see food access impacts health
Eight out of 10 consumers said that more accessibility to nutritious food would improve their physical health and well-being.
Of the people surveyed, 83% felt that access to nutritious food would enhance childhood development, 82% said it would help with health disparities, and 81% said it would reduce health costs. About three-quarters of respondents believe what they eat impacts their emotional and mental health, and conversely, 78% say their mental and emotional state influences what they eat.
Despite many consumers agreeing with the importance of nutritious food, economic factors are creating a barrier for many of them. A majority of Americans surveyed (57%) said that they cut back on purchasing foods and beverages to promote a healthy lifestyle.
Consumers place the blame for lack of nutritious food on both private and public sectors, Danone found. More than six out of ten Americans said that they would like food companies to do more with local food systems, including sharing resources on making healthy food decisions. And when it comes to multicultural communities, 79% of Latino consumers; 76% of Black, and 75% of Asian Americans said that they would support brands tackling issues related to food accessibility.