Cutting back on sugar and eating more fresh and unprocessed foods is a priority for Australians, however many believe being healthy is expensive and time consuming, a new landmark report by market research company Ipsos reveals.
The Ipsos Food CHATs (Consumption, Habits, Attitudes and Trends) report is a comprehensive study into food and provides a unique insight into behaviour change and attitudinal trends of everyday Australians when it comes to food.
The top five food priorities in 2016 for Australians are: eating more fresh fruit and vegetables (40 per cent), smaller portion sizes (31 per cent), reducing sugar intake from food (24 per cent), eating healthier snacks (23 per cent) and cutting down on fat (23 per cent).
Taste and price top the list of purchase decisions drivers in-store, at 72 per cent and 63 per cent respectively, followed by price discounts.
Health continues to be the high priority area for 2016, and Australians want the government to do more about it. After a number of food safety scares last year, food origin and safety is a clear priority and sustainability and recycling continues to gain traction.
Snacking is still very popular with two-thirds of Australians snacking between meals, and healthy snacks are a priority. Although diet fads have also become top of mind, with the Paleo diet achieving the highest awareness at 47 per cent, trial of these diets remains low at below 10 per cent.
“Our study shows that while making healthier food choices is a key priority for Australians, the typical, everyday shopper is still struggling to balance healthiness against convenience and their budget,” Ipsos Strategy & Research Director Kathy Benson said.
“Making a quick decision in-store, purchasing products which are familiar and easy to use at home, as well as meeting budget restrictions, are still very important factors when it comes to making food purchases.
In terms of future growth areas, the study illustrates that Australians would like to eat more natural sugar substitutes (65 per cent), ‘no added hormone’ beef (55 per cent), organic chicken (46 per cent), stall-free pork (41 per cent), organic beef (40 per cent), plant-based milk alternatives (33 per cent), sugar substitutes (32 per cent) and vegetable protein (31 per cent).
We would like to eat less artificial sweeteners (55 per cent), sugar from beverages (49 per cent), sugar from breakfast cereals (48 per cent), food additives (41 per cent), trans fat (40 per cent), fat from meat (35 per cent), sugar from sweet snacks (35 per cent) and fat from dairy (19 per cent).
“Despite our fascination with cooking pop-culture in recent times, half of us see cooking as a chore or only as a way of caring for others in everyday life. And although two out of every three of us prepare dinner from scratch to create a healthy meal, there are still many occasions where we are reliant on ready and packaged meals.”
Fast food chains dominate the average number of eating out occasions at 4.6 times per month, compared to restaurants and cafes at 4.2 times. McDonald’s is the most popular fast food venue (28 per cent), followed by Hungry Jacks (14 per cent), KFC (10 per cent), Subway (9 per cent) and Coffee Club (4 per cent).