More than 70 percent of consumers believe the food they eat at home is healthier than meals consumed out, according to a national telephone survey of more than 1,000 U.S. shoppers conducted for the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and Prevention magazine. In addition, more than 90 percent of respondents prepare at least one home-cooked dinner from scratch every week, and more than two-thirds do it almost daily. And parents take their beliefs a step further, saying they are more satisfied with the nutritional value of bagged lunches they prepare at home for their children (60 percent) versus school cafeteria food (30 percent).
The study shows most Americans recognize the importance of eating healthier and are laying the foundation to do so: eating at home, buying organic and making healthier choices, says Cary Silvers, director of consumer and advertising trends, Rodale, publisher of Prevention. But Americans are still having trouble doing this. Supermarkets have a real opportunity to offer and package solutions rather than just display products.
The opportunities for food marketers are apparent, when considering the survey reported relatively few shoppers believe grocery stores offer many healthy options in frozen entrees (16 percent), packaged goods (8 percent) or prepared foods (12 percent). Almost three-quarters (73 percent) of shoppers expressed interest in supermarkets using signage to interest healthy food choices, while two-thirds wanted signs and information about disease management.
Survey results also showed a greater interest in purchasing organic products across all categories:
* 44 percent purchased organic fruits and vegetables in the past six months, vs. 37 percent last year. * 30 percent purchased organic milk or other dairy products vs. 23 percent; * 24 percent purchased organic meats or poultry vs. 17 percent; * 24 percent purchased organic packaged foods (e.g., snacks, beverages) vs. 21 percent; * 16 percent purchased organic soups and sauces vs. 12 percent.
Nutrition value was cited by 8 out of 10 shoppers as their chief motivation to purchase organic foods, while nearly two-thirds mentioned long-term health effects. Slightly over half mentioned the environmental impact of growing or producing these foods.
-Chef Christopher DeJohn, Tonys Meats & Specialty Foods
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