As we move into summer, many are preparing to enjoy the outdoors while spending time with their family and friends.  Good food and drink are always the best addition to any summertime get together.

As people are becoming more conscious of the foods they are consuming, we have begun to see more plant-based burgers and fresh veggies on the grill. This is because Americans are learning that the foods they eat have a significant impact on the way they feel.

Vegetables & other healthy plant based options are becoming more popular on the grill

While this increase in consciousness is great, the problem  for grocery stores arises when consumers are unable to find healthier options in their stores. This is evident in the shift, mostly by younger shoppers, to buy organic and natural products from farmers markets and health food stores. Large chains have begun to accommodate this shift by offering more healthful options in the aisles. Consumers are taking the lead and demanding that grocery stores start putting their health interests first.

Health Conscious Shoppers

There is good reason for grocery stores to move quickly to accommodate the demands of health conscious shoppers.  Nielsen Product Insights states that US consumers (56%) strongly or somewhat agree they’re willing to pay more for food and drinks that do not contain undesirable ingredients. Results from the Nielsen reports also indicate that consumers are increasingly concerned with the glycemic index in the products they buy.

New labeling requirements by the FDA will require added sugar to be explicitly stated, foods with large amounts of added sugars will become even more undesirable.  While sugars are a natural part of whole foods, like fruit, it’s the added sugars that are causing such concern. Food made with unrefined fruits and vegetables are consistently increasing in demand by health conscious shoppers.

larabar-fruit-tart

While indulgent and snack foods still show a steady demand, foods with added sugars are becoming demonized like the high fat foods of the 90’s. The real test of food producers will be to craft great tasting foods like ice cream without the added sugars, using natural whole fruits. Foods like Fronana – a banana based ice cream alternative – and Larabar – an unsweetened fruit and nut bar – are attracting massive followings of people looking for plant-based treats. It is time for the food industry to recognize its responsibility to not only provide products that make them money, but more importantly products that will help people eat better – for better life.