Consumers will now pay more for healthier goods, survey

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition

US consumers are willing to increase grocery spending on healthier
foods says a recent survey sponsored by the United Soybean Board
(USB).

As part of the 14th such annual research, the 2007 Consumer Attitudes about Nutrition survey found that - unlike in recent years - 60 percent of consumers indicated they are willing to pay extra for healthier foods. This reverses a four-year downward trend and represents a seven percent rise over the previous year's figure alone. Other recent surveys have also found that consumers are more willing to pay a premium to switch trans fats to healthy fats, or to get added nutritional value from their foods as awareness spreads on the benefits of a better lifestyle. "The fact that consumers say they will dig deeper into their pocketbooks for healthier versions of food represents a significant shift in attitude,"​ said USB spokesperson, Lisa Kelly. "Consumers want nutritious products that are readily available at the grocery store. Fortunately, healthful eating can be quite affordable." ​ Conducted by an independent research firm, the USB survey compiled responses from 1,000 random online surveys conducted in February and March of 2007, providing a sample consistent with the American population. USB highlighted the fact that the message of good versus bad fats is finally trickling down to consumers, with 70 percent of respondents rating omega-3 fatty acids as healthy and another 62 percent reporting that a moderate fat diet includes such fats. Not surprisingly, respondents insinuated they would like the products they already enjoy to be made healthier - two thirds of participants indicated they would be more likely to purchase these products if they were reformulated with zero grams trans fat. This rate is up 10 percent over the previous year. In addition, half of the respondents said they would be unlikely to purchase foods with trans fats listed on the label. According to a report from Global Industry Analysts earlier this year, higher incomes, lifestyle changes, growing health awareness, an aging population and a preference for convenience foods are driving the functional foods and drinks market. The Californian market researcher predicts this market will reach $109bn by 2010. USB is using the survey results as an opportunity to push forth the benefits of soy as an oil source. "Our nation's soybean growers are proud that soybean oil provides a heart-smart solution for consumers,"​ said Steve Poole, director of Soy Protein and Edible Oils programs for USB.

Related topics: Markets

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