A New York statewide health survey by Spoon Guru, a provider of AI technology designed to transform food discovery, has shown that 72% of consumers do not understand the recommended levels of salt, fat, and sugar consumption. Only 28% of surveyed shoppers responded that they think they can confidently decipher the value of nutrients in food, providing an opportunity for retailers to offer new tools to give better transparency.
The May 2019 study, which looked into consumer spending habits and motivations for purchasing decisions, also found that 54% of shoppers want retailers to do more to encourage healthy eating, and 25% believe retailers should offer tools in order to identify the right foods to improve health and dietary requirements.
The survey also showed that:
- 40% are afraid of developing a serious illness and 19% fear an early death due to an unhealthy diet.
- 74% have tried to improve their health and wellbeing over the past year, however 88% said their diet is still unhealthy.
- 68% eat five or more processed meals a week, although 50% claim they have been eating less processed food over the past year. The conflicting results suggest shoppers may be attempting to eat healthier but are unaware processed foods include cereals, pasta, cheese, etc.
- 55% said they are eating less sugar, with 29% using honey as an alternative, and 10% are using maple syrup, suggesting consumers are lacking the knowledge that these products contain a high level of sugar.
- 42% said they add two or more spoonfuls of sugar to their daily hot drinks.
- 32% eat only one piece of fruit a day, and 23% one vegetable.
- To prevent health-related diseases by improving their diet, 59% said the cost of their weekly grocery shop had increased; with most claiming to spend as much as $31 more each week.
- The cost associated with eating healthy proved to be the biggest barrier for 48% of those surveyed, with 67% of respondents claiming they would purchase healthier food if retailers lowered costs.
To encourage healthy eating, consumers want retailers to:
- Lower costs on healthy options - 67%
- Increase promotions of healthy products - 44%
- Place healthy snacks by the checkout - 35%
- Better place healthy foods in-store - 32%
- Provide suggestions on healthy food swaps - 26%
Tools needed to encourage shoppers to make healthier food choices include:
- In-store food discovery taste tests - 46%
- Healthy-eating recipes in-store - 40%
- Better food labels on packaging - 39%
- Better food labels on shelves - 37%
- Technology to aid food discovery - 25%
“Americans are trying to adopt a healthier diet, however there is a need for further clarity around nutrition,” said Spoon Guru Co-founder and CEO Markus Stripf. “In particular, how they can manage their fat, salt and sugar intake to prevent health related illnesses. What is also clear from the research is that a quarter of consumers are open to exploring technology that can assist with the everyday challenge to find the right foods in order to eat healthier.”