Global shift in eating habits

 5 minute read

Food manufacturers and retailers get a tremendous opportunity to lead healthy eating habits of their consumers. Moreover, consumers are ready to shift towards sustainable, organic, and healthy foods. This article investigates how obesity problem changes worldwide nutrition habits.

Health is going

The Nielsen Global Health and Wellness report shows that half of global respondents believe that they are overweight and half are trying to lose weight. Consumers have become more aware of what they eat. People seek fresh products, which are natural, organic and minimally processed. On a global level, youngsters are most willing to purchase premium goods due to health attributes. As far as it goes, they are learning from mistakes of the previous generation and are ready to change their habits towards healthier nutrition. The fact that respondents claim that they are ready to pay more for the quality of the product shows the shift in the eating habits.

The sustainability trend we witness in retail and manufacturing spreads to the food industry as well. Responsible production is valued by customers. People are curious and read the labels. Everything from the quality of farming lands and animal maintenance influence their decision. The nutritional value of the product and the absence of genetically modified organisms add value to the food. The choice algorithm does not end on the consumption itself. Further, it is important how the package can be and will be recycled. The last one results in the zero-waste lifestyle.

As a result, we see the rise of farming markets popularity as well as farmers spots in grocery stores. Moreover, driven by sustainability and environmentally friendly responsibility, the cold chain logistics reinvents itself towards feasible development. Marketing the joy of only consuming the product is not enough anymore. Food producers have to show their intentions to make the world better and present the proof of local attempts to improve the quality of life on a global level.

Watching after
one’s diet

According to OECD, 18% of the world population is obese. These horrifying numbers show that one in three adults in the United States, Mexico, and New Zealand suffer from being overweight. How did that happen? Let’s see what those nations eat. The National Geographic’s Nature of Food series has presented the interactive maps “What the World Eats” using FAOSTAT data. According to statistics, grain products take up to 46% of daily diet worldwide. Produce, dairy[&]eggs, and meat occupies each about 10%  when sugar and fats take one-fifth of the diet proportion worldwide. However, if we take a closer look at each country, some differences in the diet are standing out. The undoubtful leader in share of sugar and fat in their nutrition is the USA with 37% of the daily diet. On the contrary, the Chinese, Vietnamese, and North Koreans proportion of the same products is as less as 10%. Eating habits are strictly correlated with the obesity levels in these countries. As it can be seen in the presented data by the OECD, both sugar consumption and obesity rates in the United States are going off-scale while the same parameters in China are the lowest worldwide.

Pizza is not
a vegetable

If we look at the micro level, researches show that most of “modern” diseases appear in urban areas. No doubt, stress, anxiety, and lifestyle, contribute to the state of health. However, eating habits in the rural and urban areas are drastically different. The closer you get to the city, the more processed, takeaway, and ready-meals food people consume. And it does not go unnoticed by the citizens themselves. The problem becomes evident and the only solution for the urban population is nutritional education.

In Asia, already in elementary school pupils are taught about the nutrition they have to get from vegetables and how to balance their diet. Governmentally driven programmes have a clear impact on the improvement of population’s health. Dietary, hygienic and exercise habits that affect nutritional status are formed during school-age years. Already in elementary school, Chinese and Japanese students learn the importance of a well-balanced diet and regular exercise on their future state of health.

The USA is an example of a country, where nutritional education has failed. Videos of some classes reveal that food learning consists of how to prepare fries and other processed foods. Moreover, pizza margarita served in school canteens is listed as a vegetable. Most of the food products contain a high percentage of fats and sugars. Therefore, a healthy diet, in particular with the lack of education on the subject, takes a lot of effort, which most people have no time to invest in. In today’s busy and fast lifestyle, it is difficult to investigate the label of every product you purchase. It is believed that with more effort of the food industry the shift of eating habits will be more accelerated and valued by consumers.

Insight Box

Obesity levels have brought the global attention to the nutrition problem. The trend of responsible food consumption will continue to grow, which should not go unnoticed by food producers. The whole ecosystem of food production is under the piercing gaze of consumers. It is not an obstacle for food manufacturers and retail but the opportunity for rapid sustainable development.

#eating habits #food #future trends #nutrition education #obesity
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