According to Shopping For Health 2013, the 21st annual study released by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and Prevention magazine, shoppers still need help making healthy eating easier, with many citing cost and lack of motivation as common obstacles.
Certain barriers to healthy eating have diminished in the past few years, with shoppers less likely to feel confused about which foods are healthy and which foods are not (down 16 points since 2007), but many shoppers agree they do not eat as healthy as they would like because it “costs too much to eat healthy foods” (62%). Sixty percent of shoppers also say it’s too hard to change their eating habits and are still searching for motivation to do so.
Shoppers’ top healthy eating strategy involves avoiding food viewed as unhealthy, rather than actively seeking out healthy food items. Consumers report achieving healthy eating by switching to healthier snacks (56%), avoiding junk food (62%), making conscious efforts not to consume too many calories at once (52%), and preparing healthy recipes at home (59%).
Comparing 2012 and 2011 data, consumers continued the trend of switching to healthier versions of the food they used to eat. Yogurt saw the largest rise, with 34% of shoppers opting for a healthier version in the past year (up 9 points from 2011). This is evident in the proliferation of Greek yogurts and probiotic varieties on the market today.
In comparison with last year, nearly 50% of shoppers are buying more whole grain foods. When it comes to specific health-related ingredients, they are more likely to buy labels with “whole grain” (48%), “multigrain” (43%), “low fat” (34%), and “low sodium” (32%). The majority of shoppers continue to buy the same amount of food with labels like “vegetarian,” “no fat,” and “sugar free.”