Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Healthy-eating wanes in UK as cost of living bites

The number of adults preferring to eat organic food has fallen by almost a third in early 2022 particularly among younger generations and women, and the number of all adults preferring not to buy food that has been genetically modified has dropped by almost 40%,

These are just some of the arresting stats from the new IPA TouchPoints 2022 data set, released today (28 June 2022) and carried out between January-March 2022, on a nationally representative sample of c3,000 GB adults (aged 15+).

While the full IPA TouchPoints 2022 data set measures a range of daily lifestyle choices and media habits of the Great British public, looking specifically at the data related to cost of living and food purchasing decision-making, there is clear indication of a strong correlation between consumers’ squeezed budgets and their less healthy food choices.

The number of all adults that say they are coping on their current income has fallen 5.5% from pre-lockdown 2020 to the first quarter of this year, from 67.4% to 63.7%. This drop is more marked for women, down by -7.8 vs down -3.1% for men (61.6% vs 66.0% respectively). The percentage drop of -9.5% in those saying they are coping on their current income is also far higher for the younger generation aged 15-34 (51.7%) and the 35-54s recording a -7.4% drop (59.7%).

Over a quarter of adults and 40% of the younger generation say they feel their level of debt will increase in the next few years, with this figure rising by over 50% for 35-54 year olds since pre-lockdown 2020.

The number of adults who are increasingly aware of the price of goods and services has also increased, by 8.7% between pre-lockdown 2020 and the beginning of this year (78.0% vs 84.8%).

The number of all adults stating that they prefer to eat organic food has fallen by almost a third between pre-lockdown 2020 to the first few months of 2022, falling -27.8% from 15.1% to 10.9%. This drop is highest among the younger generation (15-34) where it has fallen by -37.5% from 16% to 10%, and for women where it has fallen -32.1% (at 11.2%) vs men where the fall is -22.5% (measuring 10.7%).

Belinda Beeftink, Research Director, IPA, said: “While the IPA TouchPoints data set can provide in-depth stats on a range of consumers’ daily habits and media usage, we felt that with the cost of living weighing increasingly heavily on people’s minds and lives, it would be insightful to look at this area in more detail and the knock-on this may have on other areas of life. What these new findings appear to show us is that even at the start of the year, with finances tightening, people are having to buy what they can afford rather than having the luxury of choice.”

Find out more about TouchPoints here.