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Younger Consumers Are Trending Toward More Health-Conscious Eating

02/09/2015 09:57 am ET | Updated Apr 10, 2015
  • Elwood D. Watson Professor of history, African-American studies and gender studies, East Tennessee State University

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Younger Americans Embrace Healthier Eating Options

Does being younger than 30 translate to a predilection for healthier eating habits? This rhetorical question may very well be true. A recent report conducted by the Nielsen Global Health and Wellness Survey offered surprising and detailed information about the culinary habits of young people.

In a January 20, 2015 article by USA Today reporter Bruce Horowitz which surveyed more than 30,000 consumers in more than 60 nations revealed that more younger consumers are far more concerned about everything from food ingredients, genetically modified food to organic foods than previous generations. Indeed, an obsession with healthy and clean eating seems to be the order of the day. The most health-centric group of consumers is Generation Z. These are the men and women younger than 20 years old. More than four out of ten individuals polled in this group indicated that they they would be willing to spend more money for healthier products as opposed to 32 percent of millennials, and 21 percent of baby boomers.

Some other findings in the poll included:

41 percent of Generation Z stated that they would be willing to pay more for healthier products
26 percent of Generation X'ers (1965-1979) stated they would pay more for healthy food
16 percent of those in the Silent Generation (1925-1945) made a similar claim.

While this is good news for retailers who are in the business of providing healthy cuisine to its consumers, the downside is that a considerable percentage of consumers are less than convinced that the food health information they receive is accurate. In fact, universally, more than 63 percent of consumers fall into this category. While the fact remains that global concerns about the quality of healthy food is real, Americans and Europeans are more readily to believe the information presented to them. In fact, the study further indicated:

68 percent of Asian Pacific consumers were less than convinced of the health information they received
70 percent of African consumers questioned the validity of such studies
73 percentof Latin Americans were skeptical of such health claims.

This is likely to be due to the fact that there are more stringent regulation of health claims in both societies (America and Europe) than their counterparts in third world and other developing nations. If such information can be trusted, the fact is that people are actually acting upon their desires to purchase and consume healthier eating and dining options. Sales of Organic and natural grown products products have enjoyed a 24 and 28 percent increase over the past year. Moreover, 80 percent of those polled stated that they were committed to eating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle in an effort to prevent or at the very least, mitigate serious health and medical issues.

The fact is that while Americans regardless of race, socio-economic class or geographic region should make an effort to maintain as active and health-conscious lifestyle as possible, the fact is that for African Americans, a large number of whom (like many Latino Americans) are disproportionately lower income, and are more inclined to suffer from diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol and other health-related issues, (largely bought on by racism, poverty and other forms socio economic marginalization). Nonetheless, making every effort to maintain good eating habits while dismissing unhealthy ones is not only sagacious, but it can be life saving in the long run. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/More/MyHeartandStrokeNews/African-Americans-and-Heart-Disease_UCM_444863_Article.jsp

Nonetheless, making every effort to maintain good eating habits while dismissing unhealthy ones is not only sagacious, but it can be life saving in the long run.