This past year, consumers have been voicing their concerns to CivicScience about what ingredients they feel are most harmful to their nutritional health, and the trend toward more natural/”clean” eating continues. According to a September 2015 report by our partner, The NPD Group, clean eaters put the most importance on foods that are chemical and preservative-free and don’t contain additives or pesticides, and they view clean eating as more of a lifestyle than a diet or fad. But do consumers continue this “lifestyle” behavior throughout the holidays, or do healthy eating habits go out the window?

In early December 2015, we polled U.S. adult consumers to find out how many care about “better-for-you” food claims around the holidays and who purchase holiday grocery products with claims such as organic, hormone/antibiotic-free, no artificial ingredients, etc.

First, let’s focus on consumers’ healthy eating around the holidays:

holiday meal preferences 2015

After polling more than 2,000 adult consumers, we found 19% of adults change their eating habits – for better or worse — around the holidays:

  • 14% of consumers pay less attention to food and beverage quality claims during the holidays.
  • 5% of consumers make more of an effort to pay attention to quality food and beverage claims around the holidays.

However, the majority of consumers make no changes to their eating habits around the holidays. Overall, 27% of consumers say they “always pay attention to quality, the holidays are no different,” and another 25% sometimes pay attention to food quality, regardless of the holidays. That’s a large portion of adults who pay attention to “better-for-you”/quality food claims at least sometimes.

Now let’s see how consumers’ quality food preferences translate into their holiday meal purchasing behavior.

holiday meal purchases 2015

Eleven percent of consumers purchase quality food and ingredients for their holiday meals every chance they get. More than half (52%) of adults purchase “better-for-you” foods for holiday meals at least occasionally, which again is a large portion of adults.

Given the information we uncovered, consumers’ healthy/clean eating choices do seem to be a lifestyle choice that extends throughout the entire year. The majority of adult consumers pay attention to “better-for-you” claims, regardless of the holidays, and more than half of consumers purchase quality food/ingredients for holiday meals at least occasionally. It will be interesting to track any changes as more consumers adopt clean eating lifestyles.