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Healthy Thoughts? What Americans Really Think about Food & Health.

According to the 2015 IFIC Foundation Food and Health Survey, most Americans are split on their thoughts about how they value their health, make trade offs regarding their health and nutrition everyday, are in economic divide about their food purchasing decisions and are in need of positive, healthy, food purchasing guidance.

The survey says…

For over the 10 years this survey has been given, most Americans have considered themselves healthy – is this realistic thinking?

  • 57% of Americans rate their own health as “very good” or “excellent”.
  • 8% of Americans rate their health as “fair” and 1% as “poor”.
  • 55% of Americans that consider themselves in the “very good” or “excellent” category are either overweight or obese!! 

The survey results indicate divides between higher/lower income Americans regarding their food purchasing decisions.

  • Higher income ($75,000.00+) participants are more focused on how foods are sourced. They are likely to purchase foods from local sources that are organic and without added hormones or steroids. They are also likely to stay away from certain ingredients.
  • Higher income Americans were more likely to believe that removal of “processed foods” from the food supply would improve Americans health.
  • Lower income participants  ($35,000.00 or less) were more concerned that if processed foods were removed, prices would increase.

Americans have competing priorities, are busy and have little time for diets and exercise. Lack of time was cited top barrier to losing weight or maintaining health.

  • Most people agreed that if they had an extra 4 hours in the week that they would most likely exercise more while only (11%) said they would spend the extra time cooking or baking. Surprisingly about 1 in 5 Americans spend less than 15 minutes cooking a meal!
  • When asked what they would do with an extra $100 each month, (61%) indicated they would save it or invest it while (13%) said they would spend it on groceries and (9%) said they would use it toward a gym membership.
  • When asked if they would rather lose $1,000.00 or gain 20 lbs., (61%) of women and (50%) of men would rather lose the money than gain the weight but overall (56%) of men and women would rather lose the money.  This suggests gender may influence priorities.

Consumers are clear about what type of nutrition guidance they need. According to the survey, (78%) of Americans would rather hear about what to eat vs. what not to eat (33%).

  • With all the media noise and mixed messages, Americans struggle to find clear and consistent messages about healthy food choices.
  • Confidence in food safety and food supply has dropped since 2013 from (70%) to (60%) in 2015.
  • Chemicals are the top safety concern for consumers for the first time beating out food borne bacteria illnesses – (36%) vs. (34%).
  • Top food purchasing decisions have remained consistent over the 10 year survey span, with Taste rating #1 (83%), Price rating #2 (68%) and Healthy rating #3 (60%).

Are Americans really having realistic, healthy thoughts?  A clear pearl from this survey is that Americans are looking for clear, positive guidance on eating healthy/staying healthy. 

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Lesley AsendorfHealthy Thoughts? What Americans Really Think about Food & Health.