The International Food Information Council's annual Food and Health Survey, released Tuesday, shows a higher reliance on price and less on climate concerns in consumer purchasing decisions.
Inflation concerns are prominent, with 91% of participants saying they’ve experienced increased costs and 3 in 10 saying they’ve made less healthy choices due to food prices. Just over 50% of respondents consumed less healthy foods due to stress.
As for social media, 60% of participants who saw food information on social media reported making healthier choices as a result. But 68% of respondents say they've spotted conflicting information on social media about their food choices, with 60% of those surveyed saying that made them doubt those choices.
“Social media discourse about food is not just a fad — it has grown into a de facto nutritionist for millions of Americans, influencing consumer attitudes and decisions, but with information that can vary in both its accuracy and impact,” said Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, president and CEO of IFIC.
Food labels can have a big influence on consumers. The survey shows when offered competing products, one with a “healthy” label and one lacking such verbiage, Americans chose the “healthy” option 55% of the time. Forty percent of in-person shoppers said they bought products labeled “natural” regularly.
When it comes to dieting, appearance played an outsized role in motivation. Some 43% of dieters want to lose weight — up from 34% last year — and 39% want to improve their physical appearance.
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The survey added “high protein diets” as an answer in this year’s questionnaire and it became the most popular diet choice, followed by mindful eating (17%), calorie-counting (12%), clean eating (12%), and intermittent fasting (12%).
The importance of climate consciousness in food choices decreased compared to last year’s survey results. Those in the millennial generation were most likely to report climate concerns being tied to food choices. Among those consumers considering environmental impacts of their diet, 62% reported meat and poultry as the specific foods affected.
The findings are based on an online survey of just over 1,000 Americans in April 2023. The respondent pool was weighted by age, education, gender, race/ethnicity and religion to pursue a reflective sample of the U.S. population.
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