Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the US Better for You Eating Trends market including the behaviors, preferences, and habits of the consumer. This market report also covers the market size, market forecast, market segmentation, and industry trends for the Better for You (BFY) Eating market in the US.

Current Market Landscape

The vast majority of consumers continue to make healthy choices at least some of the time, and nearly half (49%) say they are choosing healthy foods more often compared to a year ago, indicating that the association of healthy eating and a strong immune system continues to influence consumer choices as COVID-19 draws on. Additionally, many consumers are making healthier choices in order to restore balance – 33% of adults who are making healthy choices more often than a year ago are doing so to recover from overindulging during the pandemic.

Dedicated consumers have continued to support the better-for-you food market throughout the pandemic, but many are on the lookout for lower prices. Expense is the top barrier for the small group of consumers seeking healthy options less frequently. Meanwhile, more than one third of those whose healthy purchases have increased note improved product selection and more affordable options where they shop as being motivators for doing so.

Natural and specialty grocers – once the main destination for health-conscious shoppers – face increased competition from traditional supermarkets and mass merchandisers that may be able to offer the same BFY brands at lower prices, alongside a growing selection of BFY private label products.

Future Market Trends in US Better for You Eating

Offering products with specific functionality beyond overall health is a growing area of opportunity. Although weight management remains the top benefit sought from healthy foods, highlighting ingredients that support wellbeing in other forms – from better digestion to improved mood – can help add to perceived value of higher-priced BFY products. Brands that merge functional, BFY attributes with convenience – especially in categories like snacks and prepared meals – will catch the eye of those shoppers seeking times-saving foods with clean labels.

Read on to discover more about the US Better for You Eating Trends consumer market, read our US Cooking in America Market Report 2021, or take a look at our other Food and Foodservice Market research reports.

Quickly understand

  • The impact of COVID-19 on consumer behavior and the better-for-you foods market.
  • Weight management remains a top motivator for BFY eating as obesity rates rise and the pandemic draws on.
  • Growing appeal of added functional benefits across food and drink categories.
  • Demand for convenient BFY options – in the form of snacks and prepared meals, as well as via meal planning and shopping services.
  • US healthy food trends and consumer health food trends.

Covered in this report

Brands include: GNC, Life Cuisine, Hungry Root, RealEats, Good Eggs, Fox Trot, Thrive Market, Dirt Candy, Blue Sushi, Whole Foods, Wicked Kitchen, Tattooed Chef, Actual Veggies, Hello Fresh, Apeel Sciences, Farmer’s Fridge, Plantega, Elite Sweets, Mindright Brain Food, Sakara, Dunkin’.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

This report, written by Karen Formanski, a leading analyst in the Health and Nutrition sector, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

The better-for-you foods market has grown steadily in recent years, with the vast majority of adults making healthy food choices at least some of the time. The ongoing nature of COVID-19 has amplified this trend. Some 49% of consumers are choosing BFY products more often than a year ago, and one third of that group are doing so due to pandemic-related overindulgence. Moving forward, brands that feature clean labels and functional ingredients in the form of convenient, affordable foods will have the best chance of standing out in an increasingly crowded market.
Karen Formanski, Health and Nutrition Analyst
Karen Formanski
Health and Nutrition Analyst

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • This Report looks at the following areas
    • Definition
    • Market context
    • Economic and other assumptions
    • COVID-19: US context
  2. Executive Summary

    • Top takeaways
    • Impact of COVID-19 on better-for-you foods
      • Figure 1: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on better-for-you foods, November 2021
    • Challenges and opportunities
    • BFY eaters may revert to old habits
      • Figure 2: Eating behavior changes, 2021
    • Reinforce the connection between health and value
      • Figure 3: Perceptions of BFY claims, 2021
    • There is room for BFY in the center of store
      • Figure 4: Interest in BFY foods by department, 2021
    • Reinforcing fundamental functionality lends value
      • Figure 5: Desired health claims, 2021
  3. Target Audience – Key Takeaways

    • Most adults a target for BFY foods
    • Healthy eating efforts fail to combat rising obesity rates
    • Making it hip to be healthy
  4. Target Audience by the Numbers

    • BFY eating factors into most US adult diets
      • Figure 6: Eating habits, 2021
    • Notions of healthy diets are shifting
      • Figure 7: Eating habits, by gender and age, 2021
    • Busy parents, families remain key audience for BFY brands
      • Figure 8: Eating habits, by parental status, 2021
    • Healthy eating has financial limitations
      • Figure 9: Eating habits, by current financial situation, 2021
  5. Market Factors

    • Pandemic amplifies already growing obesity rates
      • Figure 10: Percentage of people aged 20 or older who are overweight or obese, 2001-02 to 2015-16
    • Bringing an oasis to the food desert
  6. Competitive Strategies

    • Brands step up with products and service to help guide good choices
      • Figure 11: Whole foods, plant-based meals
    • Brands making it edgy to eat your veggies
      • Figure 12: Vegetable-focused, plant-based options – Dirt Candy, Blue Sushi
      • Figure 13: Whole foods, plant-based meals – Retail
    • Better for you, better for the planet
  7. Market Opportunities

    • Just add fiber? Making the digestion connection
    • Elevate your mood with healthy food
    • Find unexpected venues for BFY options
      • Figure 14: Whole foods, plant-based meals – Retail
  8. The Consumer – Key Takeaways

    • Healthy eating habits steady and rising
    • BFY shoppers like to shop around
    • Help consumers eat their way to wellbeing
    • There’s more room in the center of store for BFY foods
    • Help consumers help themselves to healthier meals
  9. Eating Behavior Changes

    • Most adults increasing, maintaining healthy eating efforts
      • Figure 15: Eating behavior changes, 2021
      • Figure 16: Eating behavior changes, by eating habits, 2021
    • Encourage people to advocate BFY value, selection
      • Figure 17: Reasons for choosing healthy foods more often, 2021
    • Price and palate barriers challenge brands
      • Figure 18: Reasons for choosing healthy foods less often, 2021
  10. BFY Shopping Habits

    • Meet BFY shoppers where they shop…
      • Figure 19: BFY shopping habits, 2021
    • …whether in-store or online
      • Figure 20: Repertoire of BFY shopping habits – In-store, 2021
      • Figure 21: Repertoire of BFY shopping habits – Online, 2021
    • Make online presence known to parents
      • Figure 22: Repertoire of BFY shopping habits – Any online only retailer (NET), by parental status, 2021
  11. Desired Health Claims

    • Healthy weight is priority, but consumers seeking an array of benefits
      • Figure 23: Desired health claims, 2021
    • Targeted wellbeing is a draw for women of all ages
      • Figure 24: Desired health claims, by gender and age, 2021
  12. BFY Foods by Department

    • There’s still a need for guilt-free indulgence and convenience
      • Figure 25: Interest in BFY foods by department, 2021
    • Parents need BFY convenience at meal time
      • Figure 26: Interest in BFY foods by department, by parental status, 2021
      • Figure 27: Interest in BFY foods by department, by eating habits, 2021
  13. Interest in Healthy Eating Tools

    • Give health-conscious consumers a helping hand
      • Figure 28: Interest in healthy eating tools, 2021
    • Parents more open to BFY support services
      • Figure 29: Interest in healthy eating tools, by gender and parental status, 2021
    • Shortcuts encourage consistency
      • Figure 30: Interest in healthy eating tools, by shopping behavior changes, 2021
  14. Perceptions of BFY Claims

    • All-natural claims continue to hit the mark with consumers
      • Figure 31: Perceptions of BFY claims, 2021
    • Lows and nos still top the list of health indicators
      • Figure 32: Perceptions of BFY claims – Healthy, 2021
    • Evolving definition of health fueled by younger adults
      • Figure 33: Perceptions of BFY claims – Healthy, by age, 2021
  15. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

    • Data sources
    • Consumer survey data
    • Abbreviations and terms
    • Abbreviations

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