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CHICAGO -- There has been a real push the past few years to make healthy eating a bigger part of everyday life, and now new research from Mintel shows that a little more than two-thirds of Americans are opting for healthier food.
"Consumers are more aware than ever of their own nutritional deficits, and what poor eating habits can do in terms of their long-term health," said John Frank, category manager, CPG food and drink reports at Mintel. "As a result, today's consumers are seeking out healthy food with greater urgency. However, skeptical or confused consumers aren't likely to pay a premium for healthier food, making it hard for manufacturers to justify investment in nutritional/ingredient upgrades."
Mintel's newly released report shows that 31 percent of consumers choose healthy foods to lose weight and 30 percent to maintain weight. Similar results across all age groups highlight how widespread the interest in healthy eating is. This presents a growth opportunity for retailers to create private label versions of healthier products to generate higher profits, fill a growing need of consumers and also reinforce a retailer's identity in the marketplace, the researcher noted.
In addition, based on Mintel's research, the likelihood that adults are maintaining a mostly healthy diet increases with age. Specifically, 48 percent of Americans age 65 and older say they pay close attention to how they eat, compared to only 32 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds. Nearly one fourth (24 percent) of the 65-plus age group (the highest percentage of any demographic) say they do not exercise at all.
"Younger adults generally still feel invincible and have a more naturally active metabolism, making it easier to maintain their weight," Frank said.
Mintel's research also reveals that 67 percent of males think they are a good judge of healthy foods vs. 76 percent of females. Furthermore, 64 percent of women say they read nutritional information on products, while only 56 percent of men do the same. In addition, 67 percent of women and 57 percent of men claim to eat healthy food more often to set a good example for their kids.