Monthly Archives: December 2014

Food stories – here’s what consumers read and talked about in 2014.

According to  the 12th annual Food Study, conducted by Hunter PR, consumers were concerned about drought, sugar, GMOs, and food labels. The survey was conducted online in November  2014, with a sample of 1,004 participants that were representative of the US adult population with respect to age, gender, race, and geographic region.  The vast majority were responsible for food shopping and preparation in their households.

Here are some highlights from the survey:

Importance of food news on consumer choices:  while the overall importance of food news declined slightly from last year (28% vs 32% in 2013), its importance in shaping food behavior and choices was greater. Approximately 25% of respondents said they were directly influenced by stories on the war on sugar and modified their behavior in making food choices. The drought was of particular concern because of its influence on the costs of some food items, motivating respondents to change some of their food choices. News stories regarding new food labeling proposals encouraged respondents to begin reading food labels and packaging claims, looking specifically for sugar, GMO, and calorie information. The survey results seem to indicate that food news does have a meaningful influence on shaping consumer behavior.

Social and mobile as news sources gaining ground:  Websites and traditional media including TV, magazines, and newspapers still rank higher than controlled media as sources for food news.  Social and mobile are gaining ground as sources for recipes, menu ideas, and nutritional information (a 7-8% increase). Millennials used mobile more that any other group, relying on their devices to find recipes (46%), search for nutritional information while shopping (25%), and viewing cooking/food preparation videos (27%). The popularity of Instagram among all demographic groups is increasing, but 25% of millennials  share their food photos and culinary skills via this media.

Food news influences New Year’s resolutions:  While  ‘try to lose weight” (44%) is nothing new in resolutions, the specificity of other resolutions cited by study participants are clearly driven by the food news they consumed in 2014.  These include: “eat less processed food” (36%), “cook and eat at home more often” (30%,), “save money on food/groceries” (29%), “consume less salt” (28%), and “choose beverages containing less sugar” (26%).

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