One in two Americans feels they can’t afford to eat healthily, according to new research.
A new study of 2,000 people saw as many as 55 percent say they feel “forced” to buy unhealthy food simply because it’s cheaper.
The research aimed to examine the barriers to engaging with and understanding the organic food market and found many of those studied feeling priced out of healthier options.
The results highlighted that the draw toward organic and all-natural food is persistent among Americans, but limited access due to cost, a confusion around labeling, and a lack of consumer trust in food providers prove common barriers to a healthier diet.
While four in five Americans would happily buy organic if they could afford it, the results highlighted a knowledge gap when it comes to people understanding and even trusting the food market and what goes into the growing process.
Three in four people admitted that if they saw “organic” on a label, they’d be more likely to buy it while three in five would pick up an item if they saw the phrase “all natural” on the box.
The research, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Dr. Earth, found just one in five people completely trusts food labels however, while 57 percent of Americans have only partial trust in them.
Dr. Earth CEO Milo Shammas said: “Consumers can be mislead with labeling with broad claims like [contains] organic or natural ingredients, this suggests that ‘only’ part of the ingredients are organic and the rest conventional. This is a common way to charge more for a partial organic product.
“This is done to misdirect the consumer into thinking that all of the ingredients are organic, while maybe only one is actually organic, and that is what the label calls out, so a consumer automatically believes that all of the ingredients are organic and safe.”
Young people are especially concerned about the food industry as 56 percent of people ages 18-24 have no trust in food advertising at all.
One in five Americans blamed the recent foodborne illness outbreaks, like the romaine lettuce scare that made headlines, for their lack of trust in the food industry as a whole.
The scarcity of knowledge available to the public is something many consumers have a real problem with – three in four wish they knew more about where the food they put on their table is coming from.
The worry surrounding what goes into people’s food is increasingly clear since 72 percent of Americans are concerned that they could be ingesting chemical pesticides through what they eat.
Dr. Earth CEO Milo Shammas added: “When foods are packaged, dehydrated to fit into a recipe, not only do you concentrate the proteins, carbohydrates, and other good things for your body, you also concentrate insecticides and herbicides which when consumed in large amounts create a host of problems for our bodies.”
People are so uneasy about what they’re consuming that many are considering growing their food themselves. This trend is especially prominent among millennials as half have serious interest in growing their own food garden.
Still, the number one reason why Americans are looking to grow local is because it would be better for them and their family.
Survey respondents also think it would make a great outdoor hobby (39 percent) while others are obviously looking to save a few dollars and think a backyard garden would be cheaper (52 percent), and three in ten want to start simply because they don’t trust food suppliers (30 percent).
Dr. Earth CEO Milo Shammas concluded: “Control of our food is the greatest control of all, if we know what we apply to our soils, we know what is growing out of our soils, we have the peace of mind of knowing our food is clean.”