2012 consumer trends lead to “real food nutrition”
“Consumers believe that vitamins and minerals are more beneficial when they are consumed in food”, Dr. Sloan noted.
Proceedings of the Institute of Food Technologist’s Wellness meeting March 2012 discussed the shift in consumer trends towards the use of functional foods. Recent research by a consumer research company Sloan Trends Inc. has found that the United States consumers are opting for foods with nutritional value, rather than using dietary supplements.
Dr Sloan also said that, rather than making drastic dietary changes, consumers are still buying the same staples, such as bread and pasta, but they are seeking healthier versions of those products. Studies cited by Dr. Sloan found that 66 % of shoppers said they have switched from white to whole grain bread and are now considering whether a product has artificial sweeteners or high fructose corn syrup when evaluating its nutritional value.
Sloan Trends’ research found a 6% increase in the number of people making an effort to serve meals that are naturally higher in vitamins and nutrition from 2009 to 2011 (36% to 42%).
According to Sloan Trends, vitamin and supplement users in the United States have reported cutting back significantly on their use, citing 3 reasons:
• Concerns about the long-term effects on the digestive system
• A belief that the quality and benefits of nutrition in foods is best
• Pervasive doubts about the bio-availability of even the highest quality supplements
Dr Sloan stated that “consumers are preferring to get their nutrients naturally and their health benefits naturally, versus fortified foods or vitamin and mineral supplements”.
Dr. Sloan also noted that consumers increasingly believe nutrition plays a key role in maintaining health and staving off serious diseases, and they will seek products that help them get important nutrients. According to one study:
• 38 % believe omega vitamins are very effective for heart health
• 55% of consumers believe calcium is very effective for bone health
• 55 % believe fibre is very effective against colon cancer
This research demonstrates the consumers desire for wellbeing and including healthy functional foods in the diet… that we no longer shop for food based on impulse and convenience but rather nutritional value with functionality.