James Beard Foundation: Most Americans have changed eating habits | TheFencePost.com

James Beard Foundation: Most Americans have changed eating habits

Seventy percent of Americans changed the way they eat to improve their health in the past three years, according to the James Beard Foundation's first study of consumer motivation behind food choices, beliefs, and behaviors, released Wednesday.

The research project, coordinated by Karen Karp & Partners (KK&P), and conducted in collaboration with Radius Global Market Research and the Good Housekeeping Institute, focuses on what people have been eating, doing, and thinking about food over the last three years.

"Whether they were Republicans or Democrats didn't make a difference in how they think about food, taste, and wellness," the New York-based foundation said.

These issues will be further explored at the JBF 2017 Food Summit: Consuming Power, taking place Oct. 23 and 24 in New York.

The "JBF Consumer Research Project: Consumer Food Beliefs and Behaviors" contains many surprising findings about American food habits:

» The consumers who have done the least to improve what they eat are 45 and older (48 percent — almost half).

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» Younger people are the most health conscious about eating. Eighty-one percent of those under 45 changed their eating habits over the last three years.

» Thirty-three percent have not changed their food choices in the past three years.

» Nearly one-third said they don't care where their food was grown or raised. (30 percent)

» If they could change one thing, one-third wish the food they ate was more affordable (34 percent).

» One-third believe organic food is not healthier (32.7 percent).

» Two-thirds care most about taste when it comes to food (62 percent), with health concerns coming in a close second.

» Maternal influence on what people eat is waning. Half of those surveyed said the No. 1 influence is food companies (retailers 48 percent; advertising 46 percent). The refrain "just like Mom used to make," or tradition, comes in third place at 41 percent.

» A sizable majority want to know where their food comes from (77 percent). Other factors they want to know are the environmental impact (76 percent), the ingredients (90 percent), truthful nutritional information (90 percent ), and whether or not ingredients are genetically modified (80 percent).