IFIC, the International Food Information Council, released last week it’s just over 1,000 Americans aged 18 to 80. This report has long been a go to for our industry – this edition is the organization’s 17th report. For me, two of the most important findings are about dieting and stress. The survey was conducted in March of this year - - so many people were feeling a bit better about the pandemic; much better than they did a year ago. However, IFIC reports that in 2022 52% of the respondents said they followed a diet or eating pattern in the last year. That’s a significant increase – in 2021 the number was 39%. They also found that the increased dieting has come primarily from those under 50 years old. No doubt in my mind that this is a result of the pandemic – in two ways. The first is trying to shed those extra Covid pounds and the other a renewed interest in overall health and strengthening our immunity. IFIC found that the top motivators were, protecting long term health and losing weight.
The much larger Mayo Clinic Diet Mindset Assessment survey of more than 200,000 Americans found that 83% of participants values health above all other aspirations. Baby boomers in the IFIC survey, were more likely to cite protecting long term health and losing weight – as this boomer generation moves into their mid 70s, life – or maybe the search for the fountain of youth, becomes more important. Generation Z, IFIC says, is motivated by improving their physical appearance and wanting to better manage a health condition. Most Americans in the survey – in fact 56% reported feeling “very” or somewhat stresse3d over the past 6 months. Both Millenials and Generation X are almost 3 times more likely to report high stress than did Baby Boomers. One in four across all generations said that they always or often eat when stressed. What are we doing to manage stress? 41% are sleeping, 40% exercising, 30% are working on their mental health and 30%are making changes to their diet and nutrition; of this group over a third of them are focused on healthy behaviors instead of weight loss. The move to seek out natural foods to avoid artificial ingredients is strong as 64% of boomers, 44% of Gen X, 41% of Millenials and 36% of Gen Z shoppers have embraced that behavior. The survey is a must read – check it out at IFIC.org.