According to a recent survey, the average American spends $67 on processed foods every week.
The survey asked 2,000 respondents about their experiences of buying both “natural” and “processed” goods at the supermarket and found that the average weekly grocery bill is $98.50.
Of these, the average person believes that 32% of their diet consists of natural ingredients.
Conducted by OnePoll in collaboration with NatureSweetThe survey also looked at what exactly Americans mean by “natural” and “processed.”
When they see the term “natural” on a food item, around half of respondents assume the product is made entirely of whole ingredients (51%) and that there are no preservatives (49%).
One in four (26%) also assumes that “natural” foods are ultimately better for the environment.
Likewise, 65% believe that food that claims to be “sustainable” was grown or produced in a way that benefits the environment.
In contrast, respondents indicated that if they don’t see the word “natural” on food packaging, they are more likely to think the product must contain chemicals (52%) or is likely to be processed (43%).
42 percent said they assume foods not labeled “natural” are unhealthy or even full of preservatives.
With that in mind, it’s not surprising that 61% of respondents have actively searched for foods with fewer preservatives or processed ingredients in the last year.
They also read ingredient labels on food more closely (60%), buy more ‘natural’ food (42%) and give preference to locally produced or grown food (24%).
“Today, making healthy snack choices is easier than ever,” said Dr. Martin Ruebelt, Scientific Director at NatureSweet. “Nowadays, markets offer fresh, ready-to-eat fruit and vegetables, neatly packaged for convenience on the go. These are delicious and nutritious alternatives to the processed foods we often rush to eat.”
Although the majority of Americans say they care about how natural their food is (69%), where their food is grown (80%) and whether the people who grow it are paid fairly (79%), attest the data also that this is different factors have a much greater impact.
More than half (55%) said taste is the most important factor when buying food, with almost twice as many saying where it was grown (22%).
And another 66% of respondents said they don’t care where their food comes from as long as they can afford it.
When asked whether they should choose between convenient processed foods and harder-to-obtain natural foods, one in four (25%) chose the former – but one in three (34%) said they would choose the latter.
“In order to be able to make informed purchasing and nutritional decisions, it is important to know the origin of your food,” emphasizes Dr. Ruebelt. “As you read the labels and educate yourself about the company and its practices, you will determine if its values align with yours. The statement “local” alone does not guarantee food safety, employee welfare or sustainable practices. It’s important to delve deeper.”
What is the most important thing when shopping for groceries?
- How good it tastes – 55.15%
- How healthy it is – 54.50%
- How natural it is – 42.10%
- How much does it cost – 35.00%
- How long does it take to spoil – 30.55%