The COVID-19 pandemic shifted Americans to more at-home meals, with 50% of consumers reporting that they eat more at home now than before the pandemic. A new report now examines the role that health and well-being play in that unprecedented shift towards at-home eating.
FMI’s recently published “2022 Power of Health and Well-being in the Food Industry” takes an in-depth dive on consumer perspectives around health and well-being in the grocery store and an update on industry progress on health and well-being initiatives.
According to the report, shoppers feel they are eating healthy (40%), but also indicate there is room for improvement (60%). Still, the majority (76%) of shoppers put either a lot or some effort into selecting nutritious and healthy food options.
5 key takeaways from the report include:
- Consumer behaviors evolve: The pandemic led to major changes in shopper perspectives and behaviors, and these continue to shift. While health and well-being is of major importance to consumers, FMI research indicates that shoppers have slightly relaxed some of their habits on this topic in the past year. For example: shoppers have reduced their focus on product health claims and streamlined the number of eating approaches they are following.
- Food industry builds on health strategies: The ongoing work of food retailers and product suppliers increasingly illuminates the concept of food as medicine. This concept focuses on food as it relates to preventative medicine, disease management and treatment, nutrition security and food safety. Registered dietitians are playing major roles in these strategies.
- Employee wellness gains in importance: Many food retailers are making health and well-being programs and activities available not just to customers, but also to employees. The top programs that include employees are healthy recipes, health screenings, well-being classes, vendor partnership programs and meal planning resources.
- Shoppers eye health across food categories: From ‘better-for-me’ offerings in meat to health benefits in produce, shoppers relay that health is a major purchase driver across food categories. A case in point: Almost 60% of consumers purchase specific fruits and vegetables that they associate with delivering health benefits.
- Well-being drives policy efforts: FMI and its members have been playing a critical role in the 2022 White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health — the first such White House forum in more than 50 years. The goals are to underscore the food industry’s central role in ending hunger and food insecurity, reducing diet-related diseases, and improving nutrition and health by offering policy recommendations and developing industry commitments.
“We now see a wider ecosystem of supermarket efforts that includes the full spectrum of health, well-being, prevention and self-care, from nutritious meal and snack solutions to biometric screenings and vaccinations,” said Krystal Register, senior director, Health & Well-being, FMI, in a statement. “These advancements would not have been possible without the contributions of food retail registered dietitians and pharmacists working in sync with store merchants, leaders and executives.”
“Ultimately, retailers and product suppliers are embracing this ecosystem by providing choice to both consumers and employees seeking personalized guidance and support,” she said.