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A new study from Information Resources Inc. (IRI) says that “despite the influx of health-focused food and beverage products produced each year for retail store shelves, U.S. consumers are still spending one-third of their consumer packaged goods (CPG) food and beverage budget on products consumed for pure enjoyment rather than nutritional value” and that “Americans’ strong desire for taste, indulgence, and variety has sustained spending and consumption of certain ‘enjoyment’ food and beverage categories.”

Among the conclusions reached by the report:

  • “Forty-three percent of consumers place taste above health benefits in the purchase decision process, signaling the requirement that healthy foods must meet or exceed taste expectations in order to increase share of consumer spending and consumption. Additionally, the study revealed growth potential within the enjoyment food and beverage sector as today’s consumers are reportedly striving to balance their diets with indulgence of desserts and snacks.”

  • “Demographically speaking, households with children spend more on enjoyment products than those without, due to larger household sizes. Moreover, Baby Boomers and older generations allocate much more of their spending on enjoyment categories than Generation Xers and Echo Boom adults, with the disparity in spending driven not by health concerns but by difference in the types of enjoyment products consumed, such as higher-priced wine and spirits for older adults and lower-priced salty snacks and carbonated beverages for the younger generation.”

  • “Growth of the enjoyment market will remain slightly hampered by healthy eating trends, which IRI predicts will drive a slow, gradual increase in allocation of spending to products with nutritional value. However, there are still considerable opportunities for manufacturers and retailers to increase their stake in these categories through the introduction of new product offerings and properly aligned distribution strategies.
  • KC's View:
    Speaking only for ourselves, we have to say that we try to satisfy both an interest in eating nutritiously AND enjoying what we eat and drink whenever we shop. It’s too bad that many people think they are mutually exclusive.