Insights & Actions for Healthy Living
Food Trends Around the World – Eating Healthy Food is Global

Food Trends Around the World – Eating Healthy Food is Global

Have you ever wondered what people across the world are eating?

Do they care as much about calories and fat as our nation does?

Do they cook the same way we do or do they have practices we can adopt to improve our own health and wellness?

It seems that across the globe people share the same goals of health and wellness.

Others may choose some different foods or cook in different ways than we do, but the bottom line is we all want to eat the healthiest foods to maintain our own well-being, using food first instead of medicine.

How do we know this to be true? A new study tells us all about it.

What’s In Our Food and On Our Mind

A new study from the Nielsen Company (Global Health and Ingredient-Sentiment Survey) was undertaken to learn more about the ingredients and dining-out trends around the world. Data was collated from their Retail Measurement Services, Wellness Track, and Out-of-Home Dining Survey.

They prepared a global survey to do just that, sampling over 30,000 consumers in 63 countries.

What they found was interesting and informative for those of us who love healthy food!

There are two perspectives in their research that we will explore together.

Food On and Off Worldwide Plates

Around the world, people are seeking to eat foods that are healthier for them.

There is a heightened focus on wellness for a variety of reasons, according to this survey, that are termed “macroenvironmental forces.”

  • An aging population globally
  • Increasing chronic disease rates (estimated 73% of all deaths worldwide from chronic diseases)
  • A rise in self-care and prevention
  • More educated consumers via technology

Results from across the world include:

  • 36% of the population say they have a food allergy or intolerance which causes them to find alternates primarily dairy, lactose or shellfish
  • 64% say they follow a diet which limits or prohibits some foods or ingredients
  • Consumers report cutting back on foods that are high fat, sugar or sodium with only sporadic indulgences of these foods
  • People are using fewer ingredients per recipe and less processed foods
  • More than half of those who responded report avoiding artificial ingredient, hormones, antibiotics, gluten, BPA, MSG or GMO containing foods

It seems as though we all are looking for the healthiest foods to feed ourselves and our families and share common health concerns.

Table for Two: Out of Home Dining Trends

Wonder if America is the only country that seems to eat out many meals throughout the week?

What was once only for special occasions has now become commonplace and even a way of life for many.

According to this study, globally 48% of those surveyed reported eating out weekly or more often. Only 9% report eating out daily.

They primarily choose to eat lunch (53%) or dinner (63%) out.

Not surprisingly, most choose a dining establishment based on food quality and price.

Quick service is an important factor in dining out as well. Street food is a popular choice in many countries.

What Do All Consumers Want?

Across the world, we are realizing that we can’t manage our personal health and wellness without help from a few key sources.

People are demanding transparency from food manufacturers about what is in their products, how they were grown, and where they were grown, as well as affordable pricing.

Consumers also report that they would like help from health professionals in determining what is healthy, how much is appropriate, and how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Consumers say they are willing to pay more for foods that are free from undesirable ingredients or additives. They find foods healthier because of what is missing instead of the nutritional content of what is there.

Consumers globally want fewer ingredients and manufacturers are listening.

People with allergies want manufacturers to produce foods that will meet their needs which are currently unmet.

58% of those surveyed wish there were more natural products available.

Consumers don’t want to sacrifice taste for health. Can manufacturers meet their desires?

When it comes to their ‘splurge’ foods, consumers are choosing more innovative, healthy snacking foods and hope that manufacturers will produce more foods with a healthier nutritional profile.

One strategy that would help consumers is for retailers to hire experts and professionals in health, such as registered dietitians, to help them discern what is best for them when making food purchases.

Convenience and Affordability Important, Too

When dining out, consumers want quality food that is served quickly at affordable prices.

Many consumers would like grab and go food at their local market, where they can pick up essentials plus dinner but want a separate check out aisle so they don’t have to wait in long lines to pay for dinner.

Retailers could also offer dinner kits, instead of already-cooked foods, that are convenient for shoppers but also healthy. Product placement of these items is important for busy people who don’t want to do a full shopping experience.

This study is fascinating, as it included people from many different cultures and shows that we all have similar concerns about our food supply and the health of our families.

What would you add to the results?

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