Most people want to eat healthy, but it’s not always easy. People are rushed, stressed, busy, and during the recession, there was less money to spend on healthy food, which tends to be more expensive. Nielsen just released the findings from their global study on healthy eating. They surveyed 27,000 consumers in 55 markets from Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East/Africa (including Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, South Africa), North America and Latin America.
Certainly the trend towards organic foods continues. 40% of respondents purchase organic food. And why is that the case?
Not surprising, 76% of people feel that organic foods are healthier, and that’s a good reason to buy them. Some of the other results – such as 51% of people saying that organic foods are more nutritious – are also health-related. The most interesting result is that a full 49% of respondents said they buy organic food because the farming practices are better for the environment. That shows a conscious awareness and concern for the environment and how our purchasing habits (in this case for food) directly affect the environment. This is a good sign.
The Nielsen study explores the environment angle further and finds that 33% of people concerned about the environment are focused on finding local food. This is definitely a growing trend. The Sustainable Food Blog (from Change.org) has an incredible post about buying local food: How Buying Local Can Pull States (and the Country) Out of Debt. And lots of bloggers also speak to the benefits of buying local food, which go beyond the quality of food and health of consumers.
A big disappointment from the Nielsen study is that North Americans are by far the worst when it comes to buying locally. Only 24% of those surveyed actively purchase locally made food. Clearly there’s room for that to improve.