Just in time for those get-healthy New Year’s resolutions, the U.S. government has released its latest dietary guidelines for 2015-2020. These include recommendations that we eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains while reducing our sugar, sodium and saturated fat intake. The government releases its dietary guidelines every five years, and the recent release couldn’t have come up at a better time, with many Americans focusing their New Year’s resolutions on health and wellness. In fact, staying fit and healthy (36%) and losing weight (32%) are this year’s top two resolutions in the U.S.
But it seems that many Americans didn’t need the new dietary guidelines to motivate them to be healthier, as plenty say they’re already one step ahead of the game. In an English-language survey Nielsen conducted in December and January, 67% of U.S. consumers said they plan to exercise more, 48% plan to make healthy food choices and 29% plan to eat fewer calories. However, many Americans are already on a path to healthier lifestyles. Nielsen’s 2015 global health and wellness survey noted that 59% of respondents are eating more natural/fresh foods and cutting down on fat along and 57% cutting down on their sugar intake.
These health-savvy consumers with New Year’s resolutions are leaving nothing to chance by putting strategies in place to help them stay on track. In Nielsen’s recent survey, 47% of respondents stated they plan to using smartphone apps, while 34% plan to use calorie trackers to support their weight loss journeys.
While shopping to achieve their healthy lifestyles, consumers are already seeking fresh, natural and minimally processed foods. Top health attributes influencing consumer purchases this year: foods high in protein (73%), high fiber and whole grains (71%), food made primarily from fruits/vegetables (69%) and natural flavors and low salt/sodium options (66%).
There’s no doubt that people are becoming more aware of the importance of a healthy lifestyle, and the government’s new 2015-2020 dietary guidelines are out just in time to help consumers shape and stick to their New Year’s resolutions. Manufacturers and retailers can benefit from stocking their shelves with products that consumers are looking for to help achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
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