Nielsen Insights: A 'Fresh' Look at Eating  3/28/2016

Are we really what we eat?

Well, 75% of global respondents of the 2015 Nielsen Global Health and Wellness Survey believe that they are what they eat. Today, consumers are more focused on their health and what they are eating than ever before.

Overall, Americans plan on buying more natural, fresh foods to maintain a healthy diet, with 60% of North American consumers changing their diets to include these foods. The impact of this focus on fresh is evident in the store with fresh departments contributing to 37% of food dollar sales.

Fresh is influencing consumers eating habits and is helping to redefine how they eat, with a particular focus on occasion trends that are on the upswing:

  • Eating out of the home 
  • Meal solutions
  • Snacking
  • Health and wellness 
When it comes to out-of-home eating, we’re doing more of it than ever before. 2015 was the first time ever consumers spent more eating out than on their grocery bill. This shift continues to grow and is influenced by lower gas prices and more choices for a variety of meal occasions from quick serve restaurants to overall healthier options.

Restaurants aren’t the only ones taking notice of the importance of fresh and healthy options. Drug and convenience retailers have been increasing their fresh offerings. With more access to fresh options, consumers are split on where they spend their time and money.

Wherever we’re spending, convenience is key. Consumers are not only replacing meals with snacks, they are looking for convenient meal solutions, such as full meals and meal components. The demand for meal solutions is driving the deli department to have the highest growth of all the fresh departments. Retailers are seeing more success in deli when making it a dining destination with salad bars, rice bowls and other dine-in options. 

Key categories that are seeing growth include:
  • Sushi (+12%)
  • Pizza (+10%)
  • Soups (+9%)
  • Sandwiches and Entrees (+7%)
While fresh foods are making a difference in store sales, they aren’t the only options consumers crave when it comes to healthy foods. Health and wellness characteristics expanded dramatically in recent years to include claims like gluten free, GMO free, organic, and high protein. Staying on trend may be challenging with all the options, but it pays with these new attributes reporting an average of 6% growth CAGR over three years.

Consumers’ fresh out lookout on eating seems to be a trend that is paying off for manufacturers and retailers who make the right moves. Whether it’s eating out of home or building a quick and easy meal, the demand for options that taste good and are good for you is a key driver in consumer purchase decisions.

Check out more insights like these on the Nielsen Newswire

Or contact Sarah Davisdon, SVP of Grocery: 440-542-3033

Lauren Hosimer

Sales and Marketing Coordinator

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