Everything in Moderation…Including Diet and Exercise?

Ah, the first couple months of the new year – a time to regret every poor eating decision we’ve made for the last three months.  Of course, every day is a good day to start healthy eating and exercise in my opinion, but if you struggle to stay committed to either of these routines, let me give you some advice… In 2015, pick February as the month to do it, and not January.

Why?  It’s the shortest month of the year, even when we don’t treat it like a metric system measurement every 4 years and lengthen it by a day.  Remember, keep the bar low, small goals, one step at a time, and you will be on your way to better health and a better lifestyle in no time.

A recent study conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs, “Americans Look for a Healthy Balance in Diet and Exercise” shows that three out of four Americans say they try to eat a healthy and balanced diet most of the time, with a whopper, I mean whopping (83%) of young adults under 35 years old.

Not surprisingly, drinking plenty of water (66%) is the top answer to a balanced diet for many citizens, while eating a balance of foods from all food groups (40%), and avoiding processed foods (35%), round out the top three.  Three of my favorite women are lead spokespersons for each of these healthy eating habits (Jennifer Anniston – Michelle Obama – and my mom, Mother Abbate).

As we all know, good eating habits start at home, but you can’t make a healthy meal without the right ingredients, so we asked about shopping habits while in store.  Checking expiration dates (48%), looking at the store flyer (48%), sticking to grocery list (47%), and reading ingredients (44%), are the top mentioned habits of US consumers.  Printed on-package expiration dates came on the grocery scene back in the early 90s.  It’s good to know that 20+ years later, almost half of us are actually looking at them when we shop.

So, how do views change on this issue by gender?  Every month there is one massively delicious kernel of wisdom provided by 49% of this country’s population.  This month, I’m happy to highlight the hilarity of the juxtaposition of two of our research findings.  The first is that only 41% of men report looking at a store flyer vs. 54% of women.  The second is that 54% of men feel that they get adequate exercise, compared to only 41% of women.  Could running right and left all over the grocery store looking for a sale item because we didn’t pick-up the store flyer be responsible for the difference in attitudes?  And more importantly, could exercise in the grocery store help swing the fitness pendulum in the right way?

What three things can marketers and the research glitterati take away from this month’s Thought Starter?

  1. Water-water-water: Who’d ever thought that something so free and abundant in the US could become a multi-billion dollar industry?  Keep pushing more of it at us in different shapes, sizes, and flavors, and we will consume it on our way to healthy living while standing next to Jennifer Anniston cut-outs in the beverage aisle at our local market.
  2. The Food Pyramid:  First released by the FDA in its familiar triangular form in 1992, this concept has stood the test of time.  It’s simple and easy to understand, and it’s familiar to both Boomers and Gen-X heads.  It can even be used by manufacturers and retailers as a guide to product and food development.
  3. You can’t have one without the other.  Exercise and healthy eating are the answer, but in combination, even if only in moderation.

I would like to end with a quote from my long time food-diet-health mentor, William Rosenberg, Founder & CEO Emeritus of Dunkin Donuts, “Everything in moderation is a good thing”.  Loosely translated, go for seconds with Jenny Aniston’s Smart Water, and not the Butter crunch donut!