Futureproofing the Food System

Exploring how consumers define ‘healthy’ through dietary patterns

By Deniz Ataman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags healthy diet Nutrition keto Clean eating fasting

Exploring how consumers define ‘healthy’ through dietary patterns
Consumers’ relationship with food continues to evolve through diets that target more specific needs while simultaneously shifting how they define healthy, according to results from the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Food and Health survey.

Approximately 50% of Americans have followed an eating pattern or diet in the past year, including high-protein (18%), mindful eating (17%), calorie-counting (12%), clean eating (12%) and intermittent fasting (12%), highlighting consumers’ focus on personalizing their health habits.

The report found that among the top reported motivators for adopting a new eating pattern or diet, losing weight (43%) was the highest, followed by wanting to improve physical appearance (39%) and protecting long-term health and preventing future conditions (33%)—in contrast to 2022, the 34% wanted to lose weight and 31% wished to improve their appearance, demonstrating that consumers are taking their health more seriously.  

Within age groups, younger generations are now more likely to follow a specific diet or eating pattern than Baby Boomers, who were the most likely generation to do so in 2022.

When defining healthy food, “fresh” and “low in sugar” were reported as the top two definitions (40% and 37%, respectively) while “minimal or no processing” and “low in saturated fat” were ranked the lowest (23% and 21% respectively), which opens an opportunity for CPG manufacturers to formulate products that meet consumers' health preferences on the label.

While consumers are defining healthy for themselves through diets and eating patterns, more than half of those surveyed reported they would buy the “healthy” option that’s defined by the FDA, highlighting the opportunity for more education on the relationship between food and health by nutrition policy experts.

How do consumers define healthy?

Kris Sollid​, senior director, nutrition communications, IFIC, will dive into further into results of the survey during the fireside chat, How consumers define healthy?​, on Nov. 15 during FoodNavigator-USA’s free-to-attend three-day virtual summit, Futureproofing the Food System​, Nov. 14-16.

Click here​ to register for free.

Sollid’s fireside chat will be featured in Day Two: Food as Medicine during the afternoon session, Meeting the Evolving Demand for ‘Healthy.’  Click here to view the Food as Medicine agenda​.

The event is free-to-attend with registration. Click here to register​.

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