Driving County Roads

An on line journal sharing my views. The content reflects my background as a rural person employed in agriculture and as a retired elected official of local government.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

WHY WE EAT WHAT WE EAT

Minnesota is embarking on a Statewide Health Improvement Program(SHIP) to be funded by the legislature and implemented by local boards of health. The reason- Minnesota has fallen behind as a healthy state and we have too many overweight young people and adults as well as increased heart disease and diabetes.
Changing our lifestyles and the way we eat will be necessary to make improvement. With that in mind, information from the University of Minnesota’s Retail Food Industry Center tells us there are seven basic behavior trends of consumers. These trends drive their food shopping habits.

1. Make it for me fast: fast and convenient. We have sped up everything in our 2009 lifestyles. We have shaved minutes off of the time it takes to prepare our meals-example: 1930 – 150 minutes; 1990 – 15 minutes. We eat 20% of our meals away from home. We also demand portion-controlled-such as single-serving items.
2. Any meal, anytime, anywhere. Forty-eight percent of the consumers report making something from scratch at lest three times a week; but 41 percent use shortcuts like bagged salads, 45% boxed or frozen meals and 38% use heat-and-eat foods. Casual, fast dining is on the rise, and 20% of the take-out meals are eaten in the car.
3. Shop less, eat more. Shoppers are making fewer trips to the grocery store and 10-12% use on-line, internet grocers.
4. Supersizing. The number of overweight and obese adults and children in the United States continues to increase. We lead sedentary lives, we think bigger is better, food is ubiquitous and cheap, and we fell guilty when we don’t clean our plate.
5. Indulgence and comfort food. A reaction to terrorism, we have more family meals, and more home cooking with gourmet ingredients.
6. Self-treatment and whole health. Functional foods, also called pharma foods, designer foods, mood foods and optimum foods are appearing. These foods are described as a food or beverage that imparts a physiological benefit that enhances overall health, helps prevent or treat a disease/condition or improves physical or mental performance. Organic food is on the rise and some people buy niche food like organics for a social cause.
7. Specification buyers. There are six types of shoppers: middle of the road shoppers (16%), discriminating leisure shoppers (22%) who like to shop leisurely and have a shopping experience, time-pressed meat eaters (20%) who have less time but want a good meat department, back-to-nature shoppers (20%) who want organic and fresh choices, no-nonsense shoppers (7%) who want to get in and get out of the store, and one-stop socialites (15%) who want it all in one place but want to see people.Where do you fit in this picture? end

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