The trend toward more natural, i.e. “clean” eating continues and companies in the food industry – especially manufacturers of packaged “center of the store” foods, have needed to adapt. Grocery stores are noticing a drop in center of the store sales, which tend to be packaged and frozen foods, while more consumers are choosing fresh, perishable foods.

In a report published today, we focus on identifying consumers who spend 50% or more of their grocery bill on fresh foods and we provide a look into the center of the store shopper.

In the beginning of April 2015, we launched the following syndicated question across our polling network and collected 5,887 responses from U.S. adults through mid-June 2015:

fresh food bar chart

Many consumers still spend the majority of their money on packaged, prepared foods. Of those who went grocery shopping (excluding those who did not do any grocery shopping), 54% only spent a quarter or less of their bill on fresh ingredients. However, 20% of consumers said fresh food made up more than 50% of their grocery purchase.

To better understand who the clean eater  is – those who spend more than 50% on highly-perishable foods, we compared them to the general U.S. adult population on topics such as demographics, health and wellness behaviors, and their shopping habits. We also created a brief profile of the likely packaged food buyer.

Here’s a summary of what we learned about the two groups:

The Fresh Food Buyer / Clean Eater

Those who say fresh food makes up more than 50% of their grocery purchases are more likely to be highly educated women who have a higher household income. They are health conscious and fitness-oriented consumers who enjoy cooking and visit the gym more often than the average adult. Clean eaters believe a company or brand’s social consciousness is important to consider when deciding where to shop and what to buy.

For contrast, let’s get a quick snapshot of those who are most likely purchasing packaged/prepared foods, given that 25% or less of their grocery budget is spent on fresh foods.

The Likely Packaged Food Buyer

This group is slightly more likely to be men 45 and older and they have a very similar household income as the average U.S. adult. They are slightly more likely to live in the suburbs or in rural areas, watch more TV than average, and their purchases are more influenced by TV ads than the general U.S. adult population. The likely packaged food buyers are more picky in their food choices, are 29% less likely to read nutritional information before purchasing products, and are less likely to try new products before others.

The full report offers more insights and details about clean eaters and packaged food buyers that could be of value to decision makers, manufacturers, and retailers of food and beverage products.

View the full report online here. 

Check out another clean eating report published in May: Consumer Sentiment on ‘Harmful’ Food Ingredients and Additives.