Pandemic leads consumers to choose healthier options 

Clean healthy ready ot eat low fat food in meal box set prepared for lunch on working table with laptop computer, overhead view

The pandemic upended the lifestyles of many Americans, including for their wellness and fitness habits. According to a national survey conducted by polling firm Harris and commissioned by the American Psychological Association (APA), 40% of those that responded said they gained undesired weight during the pandemic (with an average gain of just under 30 pounds). The APA attributed the weight gain to things like stress and depression resulting from the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns.  

With life returning to some semblance of normalcy, a growing number of Americans have renewed their focus on exercise and diet, including for many that had less than diligent routines in place prior to the pandemic. This is carrying over to travel where, for hotel stays, there is not just a focus on room cleanliness, but on nutritional options as well. As people try to build steady post-pandemic routines, they want to make sure that they can keep up their daily regiments up on the road. Even as consumers return to some of their previous habits (like eating out more and cooking at home less) as the pandemic eases, they remain focused on choosing nutritious options. 

According to results from the International Food Information Council’s (IFIC) 2021 Food & Health Survey, 73% of U.S. consumers said they are confident in their ability to choose healthy foods, and consumers are increasingly defining “healthy” foods as those with “good” components like nutrients, fruits, and vegetables (27% in 2021 vs. 17% in 2016). 63% of adults reported that ingredients have at least a moderate influence and 62% said they are focusing more on ingredient lists than they did five years ago. 

Furthermore, more than 40% of consumers believe their individual choices around food and beverage purchases have a moderate or significant impact on the environment like climate change, according to the survey. Nearly 25% of adults said they have been eating more protein from plant-based sources in the past year. What this all comes down to is that consumers are becoming more informed and selective when it comes to nutrition. A trend that will gather momentum in the years ahead as consumers become increasingly aware of their eating habits impact on their overall health and the environment. 

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