Consumers Are Stealthy About Eating (un)Healthy

Research reveals more than one in four admit to hiding the evidence when they eat something unhealthy

Jan 22, 2014, 14:37 ET from Sullivan Higdon & Sink

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Jan. 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Some Americans who made New Year's resolutions to eat healthy are indulging in unhealthy foods when no one is around (and may even be destroying the evidence). Research outlined in a new white paper, "Our Appetite for Healthy Eating," explores consumers' behavior toward healthy food choices and how they strive to eat right.

"Eating healthy is a daunting task for many. Through our research, we've found that the heightened pressure to eat better results in people applauding their healthy choices and feeling guilty about their unhealthy ones, creating an emotional rollercoaster," said Erika Chance, senior FoodThink researcher.

In this latest white paper from Sullivan Higdon & Sink (SHS) FoodThink, consumers admit to a variety of emotions when it comes to food and health:

  • 61% of American consumers feel guilty about eating unhealthy food.
  • 47% agree they're more likely to eat unhealthy foods when they're alone.
  • 28% admit to hiding the evidence when they eat unhealthy food.

"Usually with each new year, Americans are challenging themselves to make healthy improvements. Food marketers who work to understand these emotions involving food, both positive and negative, can help consumers make better food choices not only during this time, but all year round, " said Chance.

In addition, food marketers can find an in-depth look into consumers' dedication to healthy eating, the importance of health claims, barriers to better eating, and the emotional impact of certain food choices.

The white paper is built on proprietary research from nearly 1,500 U.S. consumers of diverse demographic backgrounds.

Download a free copy of the 8-page white paper, follow the blog, and find out how to help consumers navigate healthy eating at

About Sullivan Higdon & Sink's FoodThink:
2013 Small Agency of the Year – Midwest Sullivan Higdon & Sink is a full-service advertising and marketing agency that hates sheeplike communications, with offices in Kansas City, Wichita and Washington, D.C. One of SHS' core focus areas is food value chain marketing – promoting products all along the farm-to-table spectrum. In late 2012, SHS conducted its FoodThink research study, monitoring how consumers think about what we eat and America's relationship with food.

SOURCE Sullivan Higdon & Sink