Most Consumers Say They Eat Healthier Today

Articles
May 13, 2010

Most Consumers Say They Eat Healthier Today

Six out of ten American consumers say they are eating healthier (34% much/26% somewhat) since the recession began in 2008, and a majority of consumers (51%) say they have also tried to get fitter to better withstand the pressures of the recession.

Six out of ten American consumers say they are eating healthier (34% much/26% somewhat) since the recession began in 2008, and a majority of consumers (51%) say they have also tried to get fitter to better withstand the pressures of the recession.

The Lempert Report undertook an exclusive national polling of adult consumers this spring, and found intelligence and resilience ruling their dietary habits – rather than any sense of powerlessness that would have undermined attempts to improve their lot in tough times.

Rather, among the majority that said they aim to be fitter, 46% eat smarter, 42% exercise more, 42% drink more water, and 23% sleep more, the data show. And contrasted with the 60% that say they eat healthier, 30% say they eat about the same, just 8% somewhat less healthy and 5% much less healthy.

Survey respondents (who are typically the chief household shoppers) express less conviction when describing the eating habits of other people in their household: 37% say about the same, 41% healthier (21% somewhat/20% much), 10% less healthy (7% somewhat/3% much). Another 12% live in single-person households.

The Lempert Report acknowledges outside data that show shoppers focus on necessities and buy less junk food to save money in this recession. Yet in our study, when we asked directly if financial issues contributed directly to shifts in their eating habits, 32% of respondents said ‘not at all,’ 23% said ‘somewhat’ and 20% said ‘absolutely.’ The rest reported no shift.

Nearly half of consumers (45%) have stuck with their same intake of vitamins, minerals and supplements that they consumed before the recession began.

The recession has taken a toll on state of mind, however. Some 42% of respondents say they are ‘less happy’ vs. 7% who say they are ‘happier.’ The rest report no difference. 

Without correlating state of mind to weight shift since the recession began, we note that significant weight shifts did occur. It is true that 42% of consumers maintained the same weight during the past two years. But many more went either up (27%) or down (29%). How extremely? The most commonly reported shift was 11 or more pounds.