Washington, D.C.—Sustainability, plant-based diets, and clean eating aren’t just the buzz words of the month—they’re the real deal, according to IFIC Foundation’s2019 Food and Health Survey.

Survey respondents were asked not just about their views on sustainability, but what they look for in order to know whether or not a product is environmentally sustainable, according toa press release. Out of the 54% of consumers who said that it was at least somewhat important that the products they purchase be produced in an environmentally sustainable manner, 51% perceive “local” as environmentally sustainable, followed by products straightforwardly labeled as such and products labeled as non-GMO. Organic, recyclable, and minimal packaging were close follow-ups. That said, 63% of consumers said that it was difficult to know which food choices are environmentally sustainable.

Other survey highlights:
  • Taste is important to 86% of consumers
  • Price is important to 68%
  • Healthfulness is important to 62%
  • Convenience is important to 57%
  • 73% have heard of plant-based diets, and 51% want to learn more
  • Younger people know more nutritional terms, like nutrient density, and more food terms, like regenerative agriculture
  • The concept of plant-based varies among consumers: One-third say it’s a vegan diet, a third say it emphasizes minimally processed foods and limits meat and dairy, 20% believe it to be a vegetarian diet, and 8% believe the purpose of the diet is to eat as many fruits and vegetables as possible, regardless of animal product intake.
Joseph Clayton, president and CEO of IFIC Foundation, said in the release: “The IFIC Foundation has been exploring more and more facets of sustainability in recent years, and the trends are unmistakable. Values-based food decisions continue to play a growing role in consumer food purchases.”

For the full press release and to download the survey, go here.