If you are a manufacturer or marketer of kitchen tools and gadgets, cookware, kitchen appliances, food storage, or any other food prep product category, the single most important consumer trend you should be monitoring in the coming years is the healthy eating trend.

Consumers are making major changes in the types of foods they and their family eat

As evidenced by HomeTrend Influentials (HIPsters) — the early adopters of important new habits — the eating habits of Americans are changing for the better.  In the past two years, more than half of the members of the HomeTrend Influentials Panel have made major changes — and continue to make — major changes in the types of foods they and their families are eating.

bar chart major chgs in type of food 2 yr trend

More whole fresh ingredients and fruits and vegetables; less processed packaged food

81% of the HomeTrend Influentials who made major changes in the types of foods they eat are eating more whole fresh ingredients; 80% are eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, and 77% are making healthier food choices.

bar chart types of chgs in foods 2012 copy

Take Shelley for example.  When asked what types of changes she is making in her food prep and food purchasing habits, she said, “I am making mindful purchases at the Grocery store. Eating less processed foods and more whole  foods. I also have the Fooducate App on my phone which allows me to track which items are really healthy and which ones claim to be healthy. I have been surprised to find out some of my “all natural” items have not been natural at all.” 

The Shopping for Health 2012 study conducted by the Food Marketing Institute and Prevention magazine corroborates the findings of my research: consumers are increasingly driven by nutrition when shopping for food.  Shoppers have increased their purchases of foods containing ingredients such as whole grains, fiber and protein and are buying less processed food.

The reason for changes: to prevent future health problems

The healthy eating trend is not new: it has been gaining traction for the past five or so years.

What is new is the reason Americans are changing the types of foods they and their families are eating.   In 2009, 23% of HomeTrend Influentials said that the most important reason for changing the types of foods they eat was because they wanted to “eat healthier” and 13% wanted to prevent health problems in the future by changing their dietary habits.  The opposite is true in 2012.  This year, 22% of HIPsters said that the most important reason for changing the types of foods they eat is because they want to prevent health problems in the future by changing their dietary habits now; 14% say they want to eat healthier.

bar chart reason for chgs in types of fds 2009 v 2012 copy

How can your company leverage the healthy eating trend? 

Consumers who are committed to healthy eating are spending more time on food preparation because fresh foods take more time to prepare.  Do you have products that will save them time?

They are buying — and cutting, slicing, and chopping — more fresh fruits and vegetables.  Do you have products that keep fruits and vegetables fresh longer or make fruit and vegetable preparation easier or less time consuming?