IFIC 2020 Survey – Implications for Retail Dietitians
By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
This is the 15th time the International Food Information Council (IFIC) has surveyed American consumers to understand their perceptions, beliefs, and behaviors around food and food purchasing decisions. The 2020 survey took place against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic which has certainly impacted food and dietary habits. The online survey of 1,011 Americans ages 18 to 80 provided some thought-provoking results and implications for retail dietitians:
Altered food habits as a result of COVID-19 - More than 8 in 10 Americans say they have experienced some change to their habits surrounding eating or food preparation. There is more cooking at home, an increase in snacking, more produce washing and more thinking about food in general. Meanwhile, online grocery shopping has increased and fewer Americans are making multiple shopping trips per week.
- Work with your online grocery team to help provide convenient pick up or delivery solutions. Perhaps a prepackaged “meal prep” box with all the ingredients for 3 easy meals, or a “healthy” snack box that can be purchased to provide a week’s worth of nutritious choices from around the store.
Changing concerns around food safety - Concerns about food handling and preparation related to the risk of COVID-19 is one of the most important issues for Americans. From avoiding certain foods and beverages to concern over eating foods prepared by others.
- Assist your prepared foods team with communicating the food safety guidelines followed by the store and be very transparent. Also, provide tips for keeping prepared food safe after it leaves the store.
Healthfulness is more important than ever – When it comes to food purchasing decisions, 54% of all consumers, and 63% of those age 50+, care more about the healthfulness of their choices than they did in 2010. Nearly 6 in 10 Americans also say the emphasis they place on their overall health when making decisions about what to eat and drink has increased.
- Offer weekly health and nutrition tips and relate them to specific foods sold at your stores. Develop a pantry/kitchen stocking list with convenient ingredients to “assemble” fast and affordable balanced meals with fresh, frozen and packaged/canned foods. Provide these tips and resources on pharmacy bags, online or through intercom messages.
Increase in plant-based meat and dairy alternatives - 41% of dieters say they increased consumption of protein from plant and 28% say they eat more plant-based meat alternatives. Many of these individuals perceive that a “plant-based” product would likely be healthier.
- Keep in mind that individuals who eat plant-based protein alternatives often still consume meat, poultry, seafood and regular dairy products. Help individuals compare product attributes and stress the importance of label reading.
Sustainability factors impact purchases - Nearly 6 in 10 consumers say it is important that the food products they purchase or consume are produced in an environmentally sustainable way yet it remains difficult for many consumers to truly know whether their choices are in fact supportive of sustainability. “Sustainably sourced” labels and recyclable packaging are common signals for this.
- Help consumers with their sustainability confusion by offering a series of articles or social posts focused on the meaning of labels and logos and what to look for. Share environmentally friendly purchasing/packaging practices and other environmentally focused activities that your company engages in to help clarify concerns and provide confidence in purchases.
For more information visit http://ww.foodinsight.org