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We are what we eat, or so the adage goes. But are consumers poised to make that declaration a reality in their eating practices this year? According to a recent Nielsen U.S. diet survey, losing weight was the second most common New Year’s resolution (32 percent), just behind getting fit and healthy (37 percent).
Women are putting a greater emphasis on their figures than men, as fitness and weight loss were tied as the top resolutions for women (37 percent), while weight loss ranked third on the list for men (24 percent) behind staying fit and healthy (37 percent) and enjoying life to the fullest (29 percent).
Half of U.S. respondents say they will follow a diet plan in 2015, 65 percent plan to exercise more and 43 percent intend to make healthier food choices. Women and men are closely aligned in their health goals. Sixty-five percent of women say they will exercise more, compared to 66 percent of men; 45 percent of women will make healthier food choices, compared to 40 percent of men; and 38 percent of women plan to employ portion control, compared to 38 percent of men.
The most popular diet food by a wide margin is fresh fruit (73 percent), followed by raw veggies (50 percent) and popcorn (40 percent). While diet fads come and go over time, innovative, back-to-basics foods that taste good and are easy to prepare and provide healthful benefits will have staying power.
The gym will not be the only way to get fit in 2015. Technology is playing a part in helping America trim their waist lines. One-third of respondents (34 percent) say they will use a smartphone app to meet their weight-loss goals, 31 percent will employ a calorie tracker and 24 percent will rely on a diet-related website. For men, watch fitness devices came in third behind smartphone apps and calorie trackers (25 percent) as a tech choice, whereas only 12 percent of women will use tech devices in their fitness plans.
As consumers search for better, healthier and smarter solutions that fit their lifestyle, the motivation for manufacturers and retailers to foster strategies for a healthier world is powerful. While much has been done to reformulate products to eliminate or reduce the sugar, cholesterol, trans and saturated fat and sodium content from food and to introduce products high in desirable attributes like fiber and protein, there’s much more room for continued action.