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Consumers' ideas of 'healthy' foods changing

Consumers ideas of healthy foods changing
Restaurant survey sheds light on consumers' views of what constitutes "healthy" food. Manufacturers take note.

Mainstream consumers have become more health conscious in the last decade and if the booming success of retailers such as Whole Foods Market are any indication, the trend is just hitting its stride. Survey results from Technomic, an information and insights provider, show that consumers continue to grow more health savvy and want more options to eat better, no matter where they are. 

"More consumers than ever before tell us that eating healthy and paying attention to nutrition is important," says Darren Tristano, vice president of Technomic. "However, there's a shift happening in terms of what actually defines healthy for them. We're seeing more consumers gravitate toward health-halo claims—such as local, natural and organic, as well as whole-wheat and free-range." 

While Technomic's Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report explores healthy dining and health-attribute purchase drivers, the responses resonate in the CPG world and should provide some unique and useful insights to manufacturers and product developers. The survey shows:

  • Sixty-four percent of consumers today—up from 57 percent in 2010—agree that it is important to eat healthy and pay attention to nutrition. 
  • Half of today's consumers (50 percent) report that they eat healthy food to have a nutritious and balanced diet.
  • Half of consumers say they would like restaurants to offer more healthy foods, and nearly as many say they would probably order these options if they were offered.
  • Thirty-eight percent of consumers today—up from 33 percent in 2010—say they are more likely to visit restaurants that have healthy menu options, even if they do not order a better-for-you item.
  • More consumers today than polled in 2010 report that they consume local, organic, natural and sustainable foods at least once a week.
  • Half of consumers say that descriptors such as low salt, low fat and low sugar clearly signal health, yet strongly detract from the taste of food. However, foods that indicate a serving of fruit or vegetables, or 100 percent whole wheat highlight health on the menu, while strongly enhancing consumers' taste perceptions.

To learn more about the report, visit Technomic.

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