Most Americans Save Diets for Spring

Mar 04, 2002

It isn’t until March that Americans get serious about cutting calories, according to “Eating Patterns in America,” a report compiled by The NPD Group Inc., a market information provider. And when you look at sales figures for healthier products, they support this discovery. From 1989 to 1999, The NPD Group tracked the percent of adults on all types of diets each month. Harry Balzer, vice president of The NPD Group and author of the report, says that according to their tracking of food sales and survey of more than 5,000 Americans, the month with the least number of dieters is January.

If “diet” means less meat and potatoes, more fruits and vegetables, then consumer-buying trends seem to corroborate this conclusion. “The NPD findings definitely correspond with Dole’s ready-to-eat salad sales statistics,” says Chris Mayhew, director of marketing for Dole Fresh Vegetables Inc. “Sales for Dole’s 32 varieties of triple-washed packaged salads traditionally surge every March and continue to climb until they reach their peak in May. And, every year, sales just continue to increase during the same period.”

Moderator Comment: Should retailers/manufacturers
of “diet” food change their promotional calendars based on the “Eating Patterns
in America” report?

It makes sense that if most of us are overweight year-round
that thoughts about doing something about it would also surface at any time
between January 1 and December 31. Our feeling is that food retailers understand
this and promote accordingly. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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