Highlights From IFIC’s 2022 Food & Health Survey
By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
This year’s Food and Health Survey marks the 17th time the International Food Information Council (IFIC) has surveyed American consumers to understand their perceptions, beliefs, and behaviors around food and food purchasing decisions. Below are some of the compelling findings retail dietitians may use to inform their work with consumers.
- Sustainability is top of mind for many. Sustainability still ranks below other purchase drivers, like taste and price, its importance has increased substantially from 27% in 2019 to 39% in 2022. Gen Z especially believe their generation is more concerned about the environmental impact of food choices than other generations. Compared with Baby Boomers, Gen Z is more likely to purchase products labeled as “Small carbon footprint/carbon neutral” and “Plant-based”.
- Concerns about food waste. Nearly six in ten Americans (57%) are concerned about food waste with the main reason being economical followed environmental impact. Consumers are taking steps to reduce food waste and retail RDNs can assist by helping with education on meal planning, finding ways to use leftovers, proper food storage, deciphering expiration dates and how to freeze foods correctly.
- More Americans are following a diet or eating pattern. Over half of Americans (52%) are now following a diet or eating pattern and the most common diets or eating patterns this year include clean eating (16%), mindful eating (14%), calorie counting (13%), and plant-based (12%). Long-term health and weight loss are the top motivators for most but Gen Z also diets for physical appearance and to better manage a health issue.
- Diet choices are part of managing mental health. It’s no surprise that consumers are feeling stressed over the past year and they are taking steps to manage or reduce stress with better sleep, more exercise, mental health measures, and dietary changes. As you create consumer communication content, include messages regarding the long-term mental health effects to eating well. For example, research has shown that healthy choices, like the Mediterranean diet can help with depression as well as stabilize mood. Promote the basics of this dietary pattern with foods from across your store.
- Online grocery shopping continues to increase. A quarter of Americans buy groceries online at least once a week, which has increased significantly since 2021. Online shoppers tend to be younger, parents with children under 18, and those with higher income. Men also appear slightly more likely to shop online. Of these online shoppers, over half look for food label information to clearly identify ingredients, nutrition information and product size. With eCommerce continuing to grow, retail dietitians need to be offering nutrition information and dietary solutions in this space.
To download the complete IFIC report and survey findings click here.