What are the best diets to follow in 2019?
Sales data and visuals powered by Nielsen Product Insider
The New Year serves as an opportunity to reset and realign against a set of new goals. A 2018 Health Shopper Survey from Nielsen states that 37% of consumers are following a specific diet - up from 35% in 2017 and 29% in 2016. Now more than ever, Americans are resolving to prioritize and become more invested in their health and wellness in the New Year, including but not limited to revamping daily eating regimens.
U.S. News & World Report, the global authority in rankings and consumer advice, recently released its annual assessment of the year's Best Diets. More than 40 diets were identified and evaluated. In order to be top-rated, the diet had to be relatively easy to follow, nutritious, effective for weight loss, and protective against diabetes and heart disease.
For the second consecutive year, U.S. News has named the Mediterranean diet the Best Diet Overall for 2019. According to Angie Kling, Label Insight, RD, LD, Food and Beverage Data Manager, “the Mediterranean diet isn’t necessarily a “diet”, rather, it’s a lifestyle. There are a few key guiding principles that emphasize eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts as well as including sources of monounsaturated fats like olive oil. It’s also important to incorporate more whole grains, to limit/eliminate refined sugars and to consume fish and seafood a few times per week, all things readily available to those living in the Mediterranean. Dairy, red meat and alcohol should all be consumed in moderation.”
According to Nielsen Product Insider, Food & Beverage products with attribution closely tied to that of a Mediterranean diet are resonating well with consumers and experiencing strong growth vs year ago.
Coming in at #2 is the DASH Diet, which previously held the #1 spot for the last 8 consecutive rankings, and appears to be performing soft, declining -$129.1M (or -0.2%) vs year ago according to Nielsen sales trends. The DASH Diets stands for dietary approaches to stop hypertension. “It’s best understood as the foods you’ve been told to eat growing up, fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein and foods low in fat, as well as limiting highly processed, sodium dense foods”, says Kling.
Rounding out the top 5 includes the Flexitarian Diet at #3 and Weight Watchers and the MIND Diet tied for fourth, respectively.
In a recent Label Insight blog post, we provided insight into trend predictions for the food industry in 2019. One of the top trends revealed, “Better user experience will drive grocery e-commerce growth”, is already taking off in market. As grocery e-commerce continues to navigate the challenge to develop a customer experience that reflects and meets the complex needs of consumers, retailers like Whole Foods are taking advantage of these trends and using it as an opportunity to differentiate themselves against other retail competition, now making it easier than ever to shop by dietary preferences. Consumers can now shop and build their baskets by their specific dietary preferences, from Kosher to Low Sodium to Sugar Conscientious.
Fast casual restaurants like Chipotle are also trying to make it easier for consumers to find healthy options that meet their dietary preferences while dining out with the recent introduction of four new “Lifestyle Bowls”. Keto, Paleo, Whole30 and Double Protein bowl options are now available. While the ingredients may not be new, these new menu items serve to differentiate Chipotle in market and make the ordering process a little easier for consumers.
Similarly, we’ve found 43 products in our database that explicitly claim to be Keto diet friendly. However, through our unique ability to analyze a product’s complete nutritional profile and ingredients, we’ve identified over 100,000 products that meet the nutritional criteria to qualify for a Keto friendly diet, significantly expanding the amount of available options consumers following a Keto lifestyle are looking for.
Products that meet the nutritional criteria to enable them to qualify for low carbohydrate, Paleo or high protein diets are also exploding in market and gaining favorability among consumers, each growing around +$1 Billion dollars vs year ago, according to Nielsen sales trends.
While it’s no surprise some resolutions may not last longer than a few weeks into the New Year, consumers demand for transparency and to know more about the food they’re consuming and how it meets their lifestyle diet needs is here to stay.
About Lacey Bertucci
Senior Solutions Consultant @Label insight: Lacey received her Bachelor of Science from Cornell University and was a four year member and team captain of the Varsity Women’s Basketball team. With ten years experience in the CPG industry, she has a passion for ingredients, syndicated data and analytics.