Healthy eating impacts Canadians’ well-being

March 1, 2017

With the rise of superfoods and trends in holistic health, it seems that Canadians are taking a new approach toward nutrition. New research from Mintel reveals that two in three (63 percent) Canadian consumers agree that what they eat impacts their emotional well-being, while over eight in 10 (84 percent) believe it impacts their physical well-being.

It certainly seems that it is what is on the inside that counts as some 45 percent of Canadians say that they are interested in trying the latest foods which claim to boost health, including chia seeds or spirulina, and more than one third (35 percent) try to include superfood ingredients, such as kale, broccoli or quinoa, in their meals. What’s more, two in five (40 percent) say they often do online research to learn about the best foods to eat for a specific need, such as energy, acid reflux or improving skin.

“Canadians are proactively looking after both their physical and emotional well-being. We’ve seen a rise in the trend of ‘beauty from within,’ which has increased attention toward eating foods that improve outward appearance and encourages consumers to seek out foods that address their specific health and wellness needs,” said Carol Wong-Li, Senior Lifestyles and Leisure Analyst at Mintel. “Marketers would do well to address this trend by including messages of how their food products fit into healthy eating habits, and how the combination of the two can naturally boost one’s mood.”

49% of Canadians say they feel guilty when they eat foods they don’t consider healthy
While, for many, the motivation to eat healthy stems from treating the mind and body right, Mintel research reveals that the motivation to eat well can also come from guilt. Indeed, nearly half (49 percent) of Canadians say they feel guilty when they eat foods they don’t consider healthy, with this number rising to three in five women under age 55 (59 percent) and mothers (60 percent).

In the pursuit of healthy living, real life can often get in the way, with more than one third (35 percent) of Canadians saying their busy lifestyle makes it hard to eat healthy. There also seems to be some confusion when it comes to making healthy choices as two in five (40 percent) agree it is difficult to know which foods are healthy and which are not.

However, while many consumers are actively looking for foods to boost health and wellness, it appears that there is still a ways to go as just one quarter (27 percent) say they are more likely to buy food with a health claim on the package than a similar food without one.

Mintel research indicates that Canadians appear to be mindful of their eating habits as more than three quarters (76 percent) claim to eat healthy all or some of the time. Still, Canadians believe it is okay to indulge every now and then as some 41 percent say they allow a cheat day once in awhile, particularly among women aged 55 and older (51 percent) .

“Unsurprisingly, Canadians are faced with a combination of different challenges when trying to make healthy choices on a regular basis, such as time for preparing more whole foods and less processed ones. However, occasional breaks are viewed as acceptable and still a part of a healthy lifestyle, especially among women. For marketers, the focus should therefore be more about balance for younger women, with an emphasis on the notion of rewarding oneself for older women,” concluded Wong-Li.

Press copies of Mintel’s Attitudes toward Healthy Eating Canada 2020 report and interviews with Carol Wong-Li, Senior Lifestyle & Leisure Analyst, are available on request from the press office.

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For the latest in consumer and industry news, top trends and market perspectives, stay tuned to Mintel News featuring commentary from Mintel’s team of global category analysts.

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