What motivates my food choices? Is it disease prevention?
Of course not. I want to eat food that tastes good, that’s relatively good for me and that makes me look and feel good. But that’s me. Everyone is different.
I’ve been concerned about the produce industry’s inability to raise consumption over the past few years. Don’t people know fruits and vegetables are good for them?
And then I think about my own consumption. I know they are good for me and I don’t always choose them. I especially don’t choose to eat fruits and vegetables when people tell me I should because they’re healthy for me.
No one likes a nag.
I eat them when I know they will taste good, or when I know I’ve had less than half my diet for the day in fruits and vegetables, or when I feel a little sluggish and soft and know eating junk will make me more so.
Let’s look at these motivations: pleasure, guilt, ego.
Disease prevention? Please.
At the recent Produce for Better Health Foundation annual meeting it was a time for re-evaluating our methods for motivation.
New PBH CEO Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak told me one of her points of emphasis will be to communicate a better definition of health.
“Disease prevention is a flat idea,” she said. “Health is a lifestyle.”
Health is also defined many different ways, and fruit and vegetable consumption fits into most of them.
Another thing she said to all attendees at her state of the industry address was, “We have to meet consumers where they are.”
This is important in two ways:
> We have to meet consumers’ motivation where they are.
It’s not enough to market fruits and vegetables based on what consumers should do. They’re not rational. Why would they be with salads and apples?
Marketers need to get more basic with consumers, back to the WIIFM: What’s in it for me?
Everyone has different motivations, and it’s safe to assume they’re more self-centered than altruistic. So what?
>We have to meet consumers where they buy food.
In our just-released Fresh Trends 2017 consumer survey, we asked them what type of store they primarily shop for fresh produce. The No. 1 answer was regional supermarket (Safeway, Kroger, etc.) at 39%, followed by chain superstore (Wal-Mart) 23%, farmers market 13%, specialty market (Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s) 10%, chain discounter (Aldi) 8%, warehouse store (Costco, Sam’s Club) 5%, and other 2%.
Farmers markets get the love in blogs and New York and San Francisco media, but 85% of consumers in our survey buy fresh produce most often in supermarkets and other mainstream food stores.
Everyone’s motivation may be different, but it’s also similar in that it’s usually all about them.