Consumers’ Kitchens Show Interest in Fresh, Healthy

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Consumers’ Kitchens Show Interest in Fresh, Healthy


CHICAGO — Almond milk, Greek yogurt, quinoa and sea salt are found in Americans’ kitchens more today than in 2011, the last time The NPD Group conducted its Kitchen Audit survey.

Growth in these items and other ingredients suggest a growing interest in fresh and more healthful options, according to NPD, which asked U.S. consumers to report on what appliances, cookware and utensils they own, food ingredients they have on hand, usage, and sources of recipes.

The household penetration of Greek yogurt rose from 9 percent in 2011 to 29 percent in 2014. Greek yogurt, which is considered a good source of protein, is eaten as is or used in a variety of recipes.

“About half of adults are saying they want more protein in diets and in their quest for more protein, about half of consumers say non-meat sources are best,” said Darren Seifer, a food and beverage industry analyst with NPD. “Greek yogurt meets the needs of consumers looking for non-meat protein sources.”

Quinoa, an ancient seed that was eaten by the Incas and South Americans for thousands of years, increased its presence in U.S. kitchens by 8 percent since 2011 and is now a staple in 13 percent of households. It has gained new attention in the U.S. as a “super food,” NPD noted.

Sea salt, which is perceived to be a healthier alternative to table salt, is now on the shelves of 55 percent of homes, a 6-percent increase from 2011. And almond milk, a popular milk substitute considered safe for those who are lactose intolerant or have gluten and casein allergies, increased its household penetration by 6 percent from the 2011 Kitchen Audit and is now found in 10 percent of households.   

“The fact that U.S. consumers are stocking items that are perceived fresher or healthier speaks to the bigger-picture needs of consumers today,” Seifer stated. “Not that people are stopping the consumption of other items that historically have been on hand in kitchens, but what people are grabbing for more readily seems to be toward the fresh side with more healthful benefits.”

NPD conducted the first detailed audit of the American kitchen in 1993 as a means for manufacturers to identify foods and ingredients that homemakers keep on hand, as well as the appliances, cookware and utensils available to them. The 2014 Kitchen Audit is the eighth edition. The study is based on reporting by a nationally representative sample of approximately 2,700 U.S. households.