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04/07/2022

Health-and-Wellness Concerns Drive Consumers’ Diets

NPD data finds customized eating habits taking hold in pandemic’s wake
Julio Sanchez
Editorial Intern, Progressive Grocer
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With consumers more settled and accustomed to preparing more meals from home, their focus is now on customized diets, nutrient intake and functional foods, according to a report from NPD Group.

Due to stress caused by the pandemic, many U.S. consumers turned to emotional eating as a coping mechanism; however, health-and-wellness concerns now drive their eating choices, according to a recent report from The NPD Group.

The market research company’s “America’s Health Pulse” report provides a clear picture of the current and emerging landscape for health and wellness, with in-depth insights from NPD’s vast collection of data sources.

“The pattern of consumer attention to health and wellness shows increasing awareness and adaptation across the board,” said Darren Seifer, food and beverage industry analyst at Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD and author of the report. “This means consumers no longer think of health and wellness as an add-on, but as an integrated part of how they live their lives; that, in turn, opens opportunity for brands to become a permanent solution.”

Concern over the highly contagious and potentially deadly virus led many individuals to consider their food choices to help build immunity, which remains a top wellness focus from a holistic standpoint, rather than specifically fighting the virus. The report also details how wellness, as a consumption driver, varies by meal and snack times and generational health goals.   

With consumers more settled and accustomed to preparing more meals in their homes, their focus is now on customized diets, nutrient intake and functional foods. The need for wellness grew throughout the pandemic and now directly affects 21% of all eating occasions, which amounts to billions of occasions annually.

Consumers have customized their eating habits with tools such as social media, influencers, personalized eating and fitness plans from health care providers, trainers, apps and genetic markers. Additionally, the aging Boomer population is looking to food as medicine to find remedies to either cure or manage health conditions. 

With most meals sourced from home — a behavior established long before the pandemic — NPD expects wellness as a consumption driver to remain elevated into the foreseeable future.

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