British consumers are unhappier and unhealthier

Health, appearance and happiness have all taken a significant knock amongst British consumers since the economic downturn started in 2008.

British consumers being unhappier and unhealthier lead to profound behavioural changes in the relationship between consumers and food.

Key findings include:

  • Health: The proportion of adults who consider their diet to be very healthy has fallen from 41% in 2009 to 36% in 2014.
  • Appearance: Consumers have also become less fussy about their appearance, with the proportion claiming to look after the way they look falling from 62% in 2009 to 54% in 2014.
  • Happiness: In 2009, 58% of adults were happy with their standard of living, but this has tumbled to 49% in 2014. Similarly, the proportion of adults who say they are happy with their life as it is has fallen from 63% in 2009 to 57% in 2014.

Amongst the food-related behavioural changes engendered by these attitudinal shifts are a decline in buying premium quality products, a shrinking inclination to purchase organic and fair trade and a rise in price consciousness. Such behaviour is neatly summarised by TGI’s figures that reveal in 2009 48% of adults said they spent a lot of money on food in their home, compared to 41% today.

TGI’s insights reveal a strong correlation between consumers being unhealthier and consumer unhappiness, with income only playing a small part in driving a healthy diet in the UK.

Anne Benoist, director of Kantar Media TGI, comments: “The consequence of this declining happiness amongst British consumers and its link to healthy eating is that interest in the likes of organic and fair trade food will be unlikely to pick up again until the economic recovery not only improves consumers’ quality of life, but also ultimately delivers higher levels of happiness.”

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