CHICAGO -- Americans are shifting to healthier, simpler diets and that has helped to stabilize obesity levels. The NPD Group's 28th annual Eating Patterns in America report finds Americans consume more fruit, more bottled water and more yogurt than they did a decade ago.
Fruit has now surpassed milk, vegetables and carbonated soft drinks over the last decade and now ranks No. 2o n the list of top 10 foods Americans eat, finds this year's Eating Patterns in America report.
"Fruit is the No. 1 snack and dessert in the United States and now makes up 6% of end dishes we consume," said Harry Balzer, chief industry analyst and author of Eating Patterns in America. "The movement toward more fruit over the last decade is, in my opinion, a movement toward the need for natural. Fruit is generally not processed and requires less preparation than many other foods."
Perhaps the shift toward a more natural diet is part of an effort by American families, who spend on average 70 minutes a day eating, to get back to the basics.
"People are getting a handle on weight gain in this country. We may not yet be losing weight, but we've stopped gaining weight. You get a sense that the obesity trend has stabilized," said Balzer.
The NPD Group's eating trends research show that more than 30% of adults are obese. That number has leveled off in the last few years. Balzer said in The NPD's 18th Annual Eating Patterns in America report 10 years ago that he saw the first signs of a leveling off in the trend in the number of overweight Americans.
Over the last decade NPD's data has shown that the number of Americans who are overweight, a body mass index 25 or higher, has not grown since 2003. The number of adults who are obese, those with a body mass index of 30 or greater, continued to increase until 2011, and since has stabilized and not increased.
"While health concerns play a role in the American diet, the cost of food and the need for convenient preparation are also major drivers in our food and beverage selections," Balzer said.
The NPD Group's National Eating Trends (NET) has been tracking the eating habits of U.S. consumers since March 1, 1980. The annual NET sample consists of 2,000 households containing approximately 5,000 individuals.
Based in Chicago, the NPD Group provides global information and advisory services to sectors including automotive, beauty, consumer electronics, entertainment, fashion, food, foodservice, home, luxury, mobile, office supplies, sports, technology, toys and video games.
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