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ARLINGTON, Va. -- Shoppers’ top healthy eating strategy involves avoiding foods viewed as unhealthy, rather than actively seeking out healthy food items, according to the 21st annual Shopping For Health survey released jointly by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and Prevention magazine.
Consumers report achieving healthy eating by switching to healthier snacks (56 percent), avoiding junk food (62 percent), making conscious efforts not to consume too many calories at once (52 percent), and preparing healthy recipes at home (59 percent), according to this year's survey results.
Overall, shoppers still need help making healthy eating easier, with many citing cost and lack of motivation as common obstacles. Sixty-two percent say they do not eat as healthy as they would like because it "costs too much to eat healthy foods." Meanwhile, 60 percent of shoppers say it’s too hard to change their eating habits and they're still searching for the motivation to do so.
Comparing 2012 vs. 2011 data, consumers are continuing the trend of switching to healthier versions of the foods they used to eat. Yogurt saw the largest rise of this, with 34 percent 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, the organizations noted.
Also in comparison with last year, nearly 50 percent 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 percent), "multigrain" (43 percent), "low fat" (34 percent) and "low sodium" (32 percent). The majority of shoppers still buy the same amount of food with labels like "vegetarian," "no fat" and "sugar free."
The annual Shopping for Health survey of America’s supermarket shoppers examines their interests and attitudes regarding health and nutrition, their efforts to manage diets, and the ways in which health and nutritional concerns play out in buying decisions at the supermarket.