Plant-based, keto, vegan: Find out why consumers continue to experiment with modern approaches to eating.

Closeup of a woman eating healthy salad

While the past two years have spotlighted specific health concerns most affected by the pandemic—such as immunity and mental health—consumers continue to focus on interconnected areas of health that historically were already at the forefront of their attention: weight management, exercise, and diet.

Our newest syndicated study to launch, Modern Approaches to Eating 2022, will explore the spectrum of eating approaches (e.g., plant-based, keto, vegan, etc.) that consumers pursue today, along with the attitudes, needs and goals (e.g., weight management, overall health, etc.) that motivate them and the considerations and challenges they encounter along the way.

Most recently, our Health & Wellness 2021: Reimagining Well-being Amid COVID-19 report documented the fact that nearly half of American adults (48%) try out at least one specific approach to eating in a given year, including low carb, vegetarian, intermittent fasting, Keto and others (Figure 1).

Health & Wellness 2021 found that even as they navigated unprecedented change across all aspects of daily life during the pandemic, consumers continued to experiment with dietary approaches on a large scale. This is particularly true of younger and more engaged consumers, with 68% of Gen Z and 65% of Core health and wellness consumers saying they tried a specific approach in the past year. And as we’ve seen in previous Hartman Group research, no one dietary approach dominates as consumers dabble in a range of eating styles that shape their ideas about food if not their long-term approach to their diet.

Figure 1: Specific Eating Approaches Tried in the Past Year 
(Source: Health & Wellness 2021: Reimagining Well-being Amid COVID-19, The Hartman Group, Inc.)

Eating Approaches Tried HW 2021

And yet these statistics documenting a high degree of eating experimentation do not paint a full picture. Outside of these named eating approaches, consumers also adopt a variety of individual strategies, from limiting sugar or carbs to seeking foods that are high in protein or planet-friendly. Modern Approaches to Eating 2022 will map the full range of today’s eating approaches, highlighting key themes in dietary habits and motivations today—plant-based eating, weight management, limiting or adding specific types of ingredients, foods or nutrients—and look for commonalities in how consumers go about their chosen way of eating, the benefits they seek and hurdles they face.

The study will offer a comprehensive consumer-centered perspective on key topics, motivations, tensions and drivers associated with eating approaches, nutrition and weight management, both today and in the future, including but not limited to:

  • The cultural forces that drive consumers’ choices around eating approaches today
  • Commonalities across the range of eating approaches relevant to manufacturers and retailers looking to support today’s consumers in their preferred way of eating
  • Spotlight on several common and emerging eating approaches (e.g., plant-based eating, limiting/seeking specific ingredients/nutrients, managing allergies and sensitivities, etc.)
  • Spotlight on weight management—motivations, approaches, strategies and challenges
  • Food and beverage sourcing—both at retail and food service—and product evaluation for specific eating approaches

You can learn more about the Modern Approaches to Eating 2022 study and download the overview and order form here.