Consumers are unsure what processed foods are, but seek to avoid them, IFIC reports

In the webinar, Pike shared research that will be available in the forthcoming 2023 IFIC Consumer Research on Processed Foods report, available later this month, that examines Americans’ attitudes on health and processed foods, taken from a survey of over 1,000 respondents. 

Overall, most consumers (84%) say that eating a healthy diet is important to them, but how they are doing it varies greatly. Among the top eating patterns and diets, high protein was number one with 18%, mindful eating at 17%, and calorie counting, clean eating, and intermittent fasting tied at 12%.

Though consumers are looking to eat healthier, taste and price remain the most important drivers for buying a food or beverage. When asked to rank purchase out of a five-point scale, 87% of consumers said taste was the most important, giving it a four or five, price was second at 76%, and healthfulness at 62%, according to IFIC’s separate 2023 Food and Health Survey​. 

IFIC also asked consumers to select two ways they are improving their health. Among the top first choices, 18% said they were eating more fruits and vegetables, 14% were practicing balance, variety and moderation, and 13% said they were eating less sugar, per the 2023 IFIC Consumer Research on Processed Foods 2023 report. This was similar across the second choice, with 15% of consumers saying they were eating more vegetable, 13% practicing variety and moderation, and 11% were eating less sugar. 

The report also revealed that 8% of consumers prioritized eating fewer processed foods as their first choice, while 10% chose it as their second.