NEW YORK CITY - Nutrition continues to drive decision making in supermarket aisles across the country, according to Shopping for Health 2012, the 20th in a yearly study released yesterday by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and Prevention.
For the past few years, shoppers have recognized and increased their purchases of foods containing desirable ingredients including whole grains, fiber, and protein. That number continues to grow, with 32% of shoppers reporting that they are buying more foods based on nutritional components versus last year.
Customers are attempting to make more of their calories count for better overall health, with 55% of shoppers switching to whole grain bread, 33% showing an interest in protein on the label (up 10 points since 2009), and 30% switching to Greek yogurt (up 9 points versus 2011).
"More and more shoppers are making the switch to foods with benefits. They are steering away from empty calories and asking, 'what€™s in my food, and how is it good for me?€™" said Cary Silvers, director of consumer insights for Prevention, in a press release.
With the economy still in a slow growth mode, many of the tactics shoppers started using in 2008 are still in place, with 63% of shoppers reported only buying what they need (down 1 point from last year), and 60% switching to store brands (up 6 points from last year). While switching to store brands began as a money-saving tactic, improvements to quality, labeling and promotion have strengthened their position versus national brands.
"Our food retail members are witness to these trends on a daily basis," said Cathy Polley, vice president of health and wellness and executive director of the FMI Foundation. "Just as consumers are increasingly aware of the health-conscious opportunities afforded to them in the grocery aisles, FMI is also renewing its emphasis through its advancements in health and nutrition research and education with its Foundation."