Ways of Eating in America in 2022

Ways of Eating in America in 2023

Our latest consumer study reveals insights on the ways Americans are eating—from omnivore to flexitarian to vegan diets. Explore the consumer landscape and how changing eating patterns are creating new opportunities in plant-based foods.

Highlights: 

  • The insights from our 2022 Glanbia Nutritionals’ Healthy Snacking Usage & Attitudes Study can help guide more effective marketing efforts by identifying which consumer segments are the most interested in different healthy products and why.
  • The greater interest in plant-based eating shown by active lifestyle and sports performance consumers offers food and beverage brands some exciting opportunities. 

Our Global Consumer Study

Our 2022 Glanbia Nutritionals’ Healthy Snacking Usage & Attitudes Study explores healthy snacking perceptions and behaviors by consumers around the globe. We gathered insights from 8,000 consumers, spanning ten different countries, for a deep understanding of today’s healthy eating trends and what’s driving consumers.

Key outputs of our global study include:

  • Market segmentation
  • Consumption trends
  • Motivations and barriers
  • Product attribute preferences
  • Product concept tests

These insights can help guide more effective marketing efforts by identifying which consumer segments are the most interested in different healthy products and why. They can also inspire brands toward innovation and new product development to better meet consumers' needs.

Consumer Landscape in the US

The US component of our U&A study includes responses from 763 consumers, providing a good view of the US consumer landscape. We categorized these consumers based on activity level and motivation since these are often closely tied to healthy eating patterns. Our findings show the US consumer landscape consists of 30% inactive lifestyle, 30% healthy lifestyle, 22% active lifestyle, and 18% sports performance consumers. 

Consumer Landscape in the US Based on Exercise Habits

Consumer Segment % of Consumers Types of Activities Engaging In
Inactive Lifestyle 30% Cognitive exercises
Healthy Lifestyle 30% Walking, yoga, hiking
Active Lifestyle 22% Walking, yoga, running, strength training
Sports Performance 18% HIIT, spins, strength training 
Source: Glanbia Nutritionals, Healthy Snacking U&A Study, 2022

These lifestyle choices reflect a range of motivations. For healthy lifestyle consumers, mobility, physical maintenance, and weight management are top drivers, while active lifestyle consumers are motivated by mobility, physical performance, weight management, and cognition. Sports performance consumers are primarily driven by performance and weight management.

Consumer segment most likely to agree with the statement:

“It’s okay to cheat sometimes on living a healthy lifestyle.” – Inactive Lifestyle Consumer

“I believe that a healthy lifestyle is a lot more than just diet and exercise.” – Healthy Lifestyle Consumer

“Exercise is a critical part of my daily routine.” – Active Lifestyle Consumer

“Exercise is a critical part of my daily routine, and I am on a structured diet to help me reach my health and fitness goals.” – Sports Performance Consumer

man looking at phone in gyn

Ways of Eating by Consumer Segment

We also looked at the eating patterns of the different consumer segments, particularly in light of the rise in flexitarian eating and its association with health. In the overall population, 38% of consumers are either reducing their meat intake or don’t eat meat at all. For active lifestyle and sports performance consumers, though, this is much higher—at 46% and 50%, respectively.

Breaking it down further, we find that consumers who identify as flexitarian include 38% of active lifestyle consumers and 42% of sports performance consumers (compared to 31% of the overall population). These two groups are also the most likely to be vegan (at 3% for active lifestyle and 5% for sports performance consumers).

Opportunities in Plant-Based Products for Active and Performance Consumers

The greater interest in plant-based eating shown by active lifestyle and sports performance consumers offers food and beverage brands some exciting opportunities. These include the development or expansion of plant-based protein powders and bars for before, during, or after workouts, as well as other high-protein plant-based snacks targeting athletes. 

It can also mean protein-packed plant-based meals such as high-protein cereal and plant-based meat dishes with active and performance lifestyle messaging. Plant-based meals that offer sustained energy for the day or refueling and recovery benefits are likely to appeal to these consumers.

woman eating yogurt

Contact us to learn more about our study findings and how our plant-based solutions—including our line of Simpleat plant-based meats—can help you address the needs of active and performance consumers. 

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