Dietary Bowl Food

Dietitians Say: Value and Affordability Displace Immunity

Feb. 17, 2023
Annual survey of nutritionists also finds top 10 ‘superfoods’ are all plant-based.

An annual survey of dietitians finds that, for the first time since the pandemic, value and affordability have displaced immunity as the top purchase driver of foods and beverages. Also, for the first time in 11 years of the survey, the entire top 10 list of “superfoods” can fit into a plant-based diet. And fermented foods rank No. 1 on that list.

Those are among the findings of the “What’s Trending in Nutrition” survey, undertaken by Pollock Communications and Today’s Dietitian magazine. The 11th annual survey, conducted in November/December of 2022, got responses from 757 dietitians.

The COVID-19 pandemic ushered in a focus on food as medicine. But “After years of keeping immune health and comfort top-of-mind during the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers are back to prioritizing affordability and convenience when shopping for food” – at least that’s what the dietitians believe.

Affordability and value were cited by 70.4% of respondents, convenience by 59.1% and immunity by 57.6%.

The RDNs (registered dietitian nutritionists) listed what they considered “superfoods,” and for the first time, the entire top 10 list fits into a plant-based diet. That list:

1. Fermented foods, such as yogurt, kimchi, kombucha tea and pickled vegetables

2. Seeds, such as chia and hemp

3. Blueberries

4. Avocados

5. Nuts, including pistachios, almonds and walnuts

6. Leafy greens, such as spinach

7. Aquatic greens, such as algae, seaweed and sea moss

8. Green tea

9. Ancient grains

10. Non-dairy milks

Plant-based eating continues to rise in popularity, with RDNs rating it as the third most popular diet trend after intermittent fasting and keto diets. However, despite the popularity of plant-based products, only 1% of surveyed RDNs would recommend highly processed meat alternatives.

Consumers are still snacking as much as they were over the previous two years – with boredom (71.8%), comfort (71.8%) and working from home (67%) being the top reasons why.

Food and wellness content online can make nutrition confusing for consumers because it is often misleading. While the majority of RDNs agree that consumers look to social media platforms for nutrition information, they also believe that these platforms are rife with nutrition misinformation, specifically citing Facebook, Instagram and TikTok as the top sources, with social media influencers being the top providers of misinformation.

About the Author

Dave Fusaro | Editor in Chief

Dave Fusaro has served as editor in chief of Food Processing magazine since 2003. Dave has 30 years experience in food & beverage industry journalism and has won several national ASBPE writing awards for his Food Processing stories. Dave has been interviewed on CNN, quoted in national newspapers and he authored a 200-page market research report on the milk industry. Formerly an award-winning newspaper reporter who specialized in business writing, he holds a BA in journalism from Marquette University. Prior to joining Food Processing, Dave was Editor-In-Chief of Dairy Foods and was Managing Editor of Prepared Foods.

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