Published on: September 17, 2008The New York Times reports this morning that there seems to be a cultural shift toward what is being called “positive eating,” which is defined as “shunning deprivation diets and instead focusing on adding seasonal vegetables, nuts, berries and other healthful foods to their plates.”
According to the story, “The market research firm NPD Group gets a glimpse of national eating habits through the food diaries it has collected from 5,000 consumers since 1980. The percentage of those consumers who are on a diet is lower than at any time since information on dieting was first collected in 1985. At the peak in 1990, 39 percent of the women and 29 percent of the men were dieting. Today, that number has dropped to 26 percent of women and 16 percent of men.
“The diarists also report eating more organic foods and whole grains, said Harry Balzer, an NPD vice president.”
Other indicators: “In May, the market research firm Information Resources reported that 53 percent of consumers say they are cooking from scratch more than they did just six months ago, in part, no doubt, because of the rising cost of prepared foods. Sales of organic foods have surged, and the number of farmers’ markets has more than doubled since the mid-1990s.”
And, “nutrition experts and consumers say positive eating trends are being fueled in part by the failures of the past. A national epidemic of obesity suggests that the spread of diet foods, sugar-free soft drinks and low-fat snacks hasn’t helped people manage their weight.”
There are, of course, some naysayers. The Times writes that “some nutritionists aren’t convinced that the positive eating trend will catch on with time-strapped families. Others worry that people will wrongly interpret positive eating as over-indulging, rather than adding moderate amounts of healthful foods into the diet.”
- KC's View:
- As has been noted often here on MNB, the reason there are so many diet books on the best seller lists is that the ones that were there last month didn’t work.
Of course, there’s no way that this trend will be fast-moving. There simply isn’t the same kind of marketing muscle and money behind it as propels diet books and diet foods into the national consciousness.
But it seems to me that “positive eating” is the kind of message that retailers, in particular, ought to be adopting and marketing. It’d be good for their customers and it’d be good for their bottom lines. They’d sell more interesting products, they’d be serving as a resource for shoppers, and they’d be creating more lasting relationships with the consumers who walk in the front door.