“Low-Fat” is Out. Unadulterated is In.

It’s clear that Americans are trying to eat healthier. But if you’re thinking about labeling your product as “light” or “low-calorie,” you might actually be turning away a few customers.

In its annual “Eating Patterns in America Report,” The NPD Group, a global information provider, found that Americans continue to cut back on products labeled with phrases like “reduced-fat,” “low-carb,” and “sugar-free.” In their place, consumers are buying more unadulterated foods.

The report states that in 2008, Americans were on a daily basis consuming an average of 2.6 products labeled with “better for you” attributes. That number dropped to 1.9 in 2014, down 27 percent.

“Even though these products are meant to demonstrate that they are ‘better for you’ consumers appear to be drawing a different conclusion,” said Harry Balzer, senior vice president of The NPD Group.

Balzer said that Americans are in the midst of a new phase of healthy food marketing in which consumers “appear to be avoiding foods and beverages that were made to be better for them” and instead seeking simple, natural products. He compares today’s efforts with the 1980s, which focused on an avoidance of high fat and cholesterol, as well as those of 1990s and recent years when Americans consumers sought out products with added fiber, probiotics and grains.

The NPD Group reports that the movement away from “better for you” health claims is coinciding with consumers’ increased concerns about foods made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs).  The NPD Group’s latest findings show that 57 percent of Americans are concerned about the health risks associated with GMOs compared with 46 percent a decade ago.

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