From its survey of 30,000 people in 60 countries, Nielsen just released the results of its Global Health and Wellness Survey. And what they reported is more evidence that health is a trend that shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon.
Here were some of the key findings from the survey:
– Organic products have enjoyed 28% sales growth over the past two years while products claiming to be “all natural” have experienced 24% sales growth over that same period.
– 33% of respondents say organics are very important, and the same percentage is also very willing to pay a premium for these products.
– Younger consumers are much more interested in food products they perceive to be healthy than older consumers are.
– The most health-centric population is Generation Z — consumers under the age of 20.
41% of Generation Z said they would willingly pay a premium for “healthier” products. That compares with 32% of Millennials (ages 21 to 34) and about 21% of Baby Boomers (about 50 to mid-60s).
– Environmental and socioeconomic concerns play a big role when buying food. 1/3rd think sustainably sourced (35%) and organic (33%) ingredients are very important in their purchasing decisions.
– 80% of people say they’re actively using foods to forestall health issues and medical conditions such as diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol.
– 43% of global respondents consider foods with “all natural” ingredients and those without genetically modified organisms (GMOs) very important—the highest percentages of the 27 attributes included in the study.
– Approximately 40% of global respondents say the absence of artificial colors (42%) and flavors (41%) are very important.
– 75% of respondents believe they “are what they eat.”
– 43% of global respondents say the absence of GMOs is very important in the foods they purchase, but only 33% are very willing to pay a premium for these products—a 10-percentage point difference.
While I am very encouraged by the results of this survey, a few things stick out to me.
1) I am saddened and alarmed by the global obesity epidemic, which seems to be fueling the push for healthy living. The study estimated that 2.1 billion people, or nearly 30% of the global population, were overweight or obese, and 49% of the global respondents consider themselves overweight.
As a result, 50% are actively trying to lose weight and 88% are willing to pay more for foods with healthy attributes to some degree.
2) While the survey didn’t go into it, my guess is that far too many people still equate “all natural” with “organic”.
But they are very, very different. Click HERE to read why they are not the same.
3) I am extremely encouraged that younger people are so enthusiastic about eating healthy.
However, if we really want to make our country healthier, younger people must also be engaged in food politics. From what I have seen so far, Generation Z has largely been absent in this arena and we desperately need them to combat the incredibly powerful ag-biotech industry and Grocery Manufacturers Association, both of which have tremendous influence in Washington D.C.
More specifically, Generation Z needs to take up the GMO-labeling cause. While 65 nations around the world require GMOs to be labeled, the U.S. still does not. This must change, and Generation Z has the potential to help make this happen.
If they don’t, our country will continued to be poisoned by such toxic crops as Dow’s Agent Orange Corn.