Help Households Eat Healthier: NGA

February 11, 2010

One positive outcome of the recession is consumers’ heightened interest in eating healthier.

One positive outcome of the recession is consumers’ heightened interest in eating healthier. Families save money as they purge non-essential (though loved) treats from their diets, and they learn to appreciate a leaner approach to eating. Also, aging Boomers and seniors want to eat in ways that prolong life. People read food labels more in order to make smarter choices, but often come away confused. If, after all of their efforts, they’re eating wiser and losing inches too, even better, since obesity still weighs down the nation.

Retailers can see precisely what consumers want from their primary food stores that would help them eat healthier, in research findings found in the National Grocers Association 2010 Consumer Survey Report.  Healthful assortments, great fruits and vegetables, and lots of nutritional information available in stores are part of the winning formula.

Here are some insights that provide retail direction:

  • 91% of consumers consider the presence of high-quality fruits and vegetables to be ‘very important’ in their choice of a primary food store. By far the highest consensus on any measure affecting where people buy most of their groceries, this response is also a full five percentage points higher than a year ago.  Thumbs up: 89% of consumers rate their primary food store ‘excellent/good’ on this point..
  • 76% regard high-quality meats as a ‘very important’ store trait, up three percentage points over a year ago. Nearly nine out of 10 (87%) rate their primary supermarket ‘excellent/good’ in providing high-quality meats.
  • The availability of nutritional and health information is far more pivotal to store selection than a year ago. Currently, 37% call this ‘very important’ (that’s up six percentage points) and 40% feel it is ‘somewhat important.’  Food stores are progressing here: Nearly seven consumers in 10 (20% ‘excellent’ and 49% ‘good’) like what their primary food store provides.
  • The Top 5 ways people eat to be healthy include: more fruits and vegetables (84%), less junk food/snack food (64%), less fried foods (63%), more fresh foods and more whole grains (tied at 58%).
  • 46% think high-quality seafood is ‘very important,’ and another 31% say ‘somewhat important.’
  • Organic products matter to more than six in 10 consumers (26% ‘very’ and 36% ‘somewhat’ important) in their store choice. This is the highest rating ever, despite the stalled economy. Primary food stores measure up pretty well: more than seven consumers in 10 rate them either ‘excellent’ (24%) or ‘good’ (47%) on his measure.
  • The presence of locally grown produce scored a 41% ‘very important’ rating from consumers who want to bring home fresh, safe foods. Nearly six in 10 consumers rate their primary store either ‘excellent’ (21%) or ‘good’ (38%) on this count.
  • ‘More fresh made foods’ is an improvement that 22% of survey respondents said they’d like to see.  Also desired: more locally grown foods (41%), more organic foods (20%), nutrition and other health information (16%).