While at first glance this decline may seem like a return to an intentional or unhealthy eating, the shift in reality may indicate a Greater stability and less transition from diet to dietIn addition to a more in-depth understanding of the health benefits that foods provide or rely on indicators other than diet-related claims and claims, FMI assumes in its recently released report, The power of health and well-being in the food industry: new horizons and progress in 2022.
This subtle shift could have a significant impact on how food manufacturers and retailers communicate with consumers and market products, underscoring the importance of staying on top of fast-moving consumer trends and evolving perceptions.
“Shoppers may rely on…other cues to assess their health”
In the months following the initial coronavirus outbreak, the grocery store became a major health and well-being destination as consumers sought guidance from in-store experts, including pharmacists, registered dietitians and other licensed health care providers, and from food manufacturers on how to do so. They can boost their health through diet, according to FMI.
This is reflected in the rise in the percentage of consumers who believe they are eating as healthy as possible from 27% in 2020 at the start of the pandemic to 41% in 2021. By 2022, this number remained relatively flat at 40%, “Suggesting that people may be settling into some healthy habits after the pandemic,”The report suggests.
At the same time, consumers’ reliance on health-related product claims and the number of eating styles they follow have decreased slightly – an indicator “Shoppers have relaxed a bit of their focus on product claims,”FMI argues.
For example, 59% of shoppers in 2022 look to product claims to avoid negatives (such as low sugar, sodium, fat, carbs, and calories, or no added sugar or added hormones). Far fewer (17%) seek positive nutritional claims, such as the vitamin-rich, antioxidant-rich, calcium-fortified, or heart-healthy (22%) claims such as heart health or lowering cholesterol.
The report shows that the overall decline in areas of interest for shoppers “It doesn’t necessarily mean less label reading, but it does indicate that nutritional and health claims are less prominent and influence shopper decisions,”and that “Shoppers may rely more on trusted brands, product narratives, or other signals to assess health.”
Similarly, the report found that consumers took an average of 2.3 different dietary approaches in 2022 – down from 2.8 last year.
The percentage of shoppers following vegetarian, vegan, ketogenic, and low-FODMAP diets decreased by two percentage points in 2022 from the previous year, while those following diets focused on the glycemic index, ketogenic, and low-FODMAP decreased by three percentage points and those following the Mediterranean. The diet decreased four percentage points.
While this may be seen as a decrease in consumer interest in mindful eating, the report argues the opposite – it claims, “This indicates greater stability and less transition from diet to diet.”
Focus on the most important claims
Either way, retailers and manufacturers may want to rethink their communication strategies to focus more on the claims and concepts that resonate most with consumers.
For meat and poultry, that means highlighting “best for” traits, which 86% of consumers said they considered in 2022 compared to 80% in 2019, according to FMI research.
For seafood, FMI found that consumers indicated that nutrition claims have a significant impact on their choice, with 59% indicating that they are influenced by claims about “high-quality protein,” 56% about “healthy fats,” and 52% about essential nutrients. . Claims such as no less effective additives or solutions with only 47% of consumers citing it as effective.
And for plants, the research reveals an opportunity for more widespread consumer awareness with 60% of shoppers expressing an interest in learning more about the nutritional value and environmental impact of these products.
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