The 2022 Food and Health Survey reveals two key lessons

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The International Food Information Council released its 2022 Diet and Health Survey of just over 1,000 Americans between the ages of 18 and 80 last week.

This report has long been a benchmark for our food industry – this is the organization’s 17 edition.e report. For me, two of the most important discoveries relate to diets and stress.

The survey was conducted in March this year, so many people felt a little better about the pandemic; much better than a year ago. However, IFIC reports that in 2022, 52% of respondents said they had gone on a diet or diet in the past year. This is a significant increase – in 2021 the number was only 39%. They also found that the increase in diets came mainly from those under 50.

There is no doubt in my mind that this is the result of the pandemic – in two ways. The first is trying to shed those extra pounds from Covid and the other a renewed interest in overall health and boosting our immunity. IFIC found that the top motivators were long-term health protection and weight loss.

The much larger Mayo Clinic Diet Mindset Survey of more than 200,000 Americans found that 83% of participants placed health above all other aspirations.

Baby boomers in the IFIC survey were more likely to cite long-term health protection and weight loss – as this generation of baby boomers enters their mid-70s, life – or perhaps the search for the fountain of youth becomes more important.

Generation Z, according to IFIC, is driven by improving their physical appearance and a desire to better manage a health condition.

Most Americans in the survey – in fact 56% said they felt “very” or somewhat stressed in the past 6 months. Millennials and Generation X are almost 3 times more likely to report high stress than Baby Boomers. One in four people across all generations said they always or often ate when stressed. What do we do to manage stress? 41% sleep, 40% exercise, 30% work on their mental health and 30% change their diet and nutrition; of this group, more than a third focus on healthy behaviors rather than weight loss.

The trend to seek out natural foods to avoid artificial ingredients is strong as 64% of Baby Boomers, 44% of Gen Xers, 41% of Millennials, and 36% of Gen Z shoppers have engaged in this behavior.

The survey is a must read for those in the grocery business.

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