Only five percent of Australians eating enough fruit

Latest Insights Reveal That While the Majority of Australians Feel Healthy and the Health Food Segment is Growing, Only Five Percent of People are Meeting Fruit Intake Guidelines

Sydney, Australia - 24 June 2019 - Alistair Leathwood, Chief Commercial Officer, Asia Pacific, IRI®, a global leader in innovative solutions and services for consumer, retail and media companies, has delivered some interesting insights at the Australian Food and Grocery Council’s annual industry event, concerning the state of mind of shoppers and the resultant challenges for the food and grocery sector.

“IRI’s industry insights clearly show that the greatest challenge for manufacturers and retailers is encouraging shoppers to do more in relation to their health and wellbeing,” Leathwood explained today.

“85 percent of us consider ourselves to be in ‘excellent, very good, or good’ health.   Yet, a whopping 67 percent of us are overweight or obese and only 17 percent of us meet any physical activity targets.   Even more concerning, only five percent of us meet fruit intake guidelines.

“These insights tell us that there is an opportunity for the industry to play a greater role in providing inspiration and enablement to help Australians improve their diets and live healthier lives.

“While many brands are getting it right and shoppers are responding, there is certainly more scope for improvement.  This can be evidenced through the growth we are seeing in health food aisles in supermarkets across the country.  Health food sales grew by $624 million last year; a huge eight percent in growth on the previous year.

“Australian shoppers are more focused on health and wellbeing, but the focus is targeted to key areas of food and grocery and this reflected in their shopping trolleys and grocery baskets.”

IRI has identified five top food and grocery trends in the sector:  digestive diligence, protein powder, good fats and carbs, clean and green; and permissible indulgence.

Digestive Diligence

“Our research shows that Australians care about stomach health.  50 percent of Australians experience gut health problems and one in seven experience distressing gut health symptoms.   These statistics are further validated by Google’s documented rise in the number of gut health related searches over the last three years,” Leathwood added.

“Our research shows that Australians care about stomach health.  50 percent of Australians experience gut health problems and one in seven experience distressing gut health symptoms.   These statistics are further validated by Google’s documented rise in the number of gut health related searches over the last three years,” Leathwood added.

“This is why we are seeing a surge in sales for products such as A2, Kombucha and other products which promote intestinal health.”

“Australians are looking for products that will help to create a healthy gut microbiome as this is seen as a pillar of wellness.   They also want products with ingredients that are seen to be supported by scientific information.”

Protein Powder

“As we know, protein is a building block of life; it’s an important component of every cell in our body.   Awareness about the importance of protein is growing.   As a result, we are seeing some interesting growth in protein based products across the food and grocery sector,” Leathwood added.

“Protein powder is hitting the mark with sports nutrition moving beyond elite athletes.  Animal and plant based sources of protein are also increasingly desirable.   Sales in fresh poultry have surged by 14 percent over the last two years.  This is big growth.

“Yoghurts high in protein and low in sugar have also experienced strong sales.   This segment has grown considerably.

“Plant based foods are also popular.  The increased uptake of plant-based protein snacks is continuing.  The rise of the vegan movement is also considered to be driving some of this growth.”

Good Fats and Carbs

“Shoppers are now also looking at what type of fat they are consuming as well as how much.  With the Mediterranean diet still winning awards all over the world for its plant based nutritional value, recommended by most leading dieticians, olive oil continues to outperform the category.   Sales in extra virgin oil increased by a hefty 16 percent over the last two years,” Leathwood said.  

“Influencers and health and wellness experts are also impacting the decisions of shoppers, particularly around whole milk.   Over the last two years we have seen a decline of 12 percent in the sale of reduced fat and no fat milks and an increase of 16 percent in the sale of full cream milk.

"Butter has also experienced a surge in popularity with more shoppers buying butter than margarine.  Butter has definitely benefited from the perception that it’s a healthier and more natural option.   Margarine sales have dropped by five percent over the last two years while butter has grown by 16 percent.

Clean and Green

IRI insights also reveal that the environment is now a key decision point for food and grocery shoppers. 

“Many shoppers are asking themselves, am I doing the right thing by my health and the health of the planet,” Leathwood said.

“As a result, we are seeing some interesting trends in canned and bottled foods.   Products packaged in glass, plastic and steel are being purchased less.   Fresh is best and this can be seen through a reduction in sales across a broad range of categories.

“The ‘good for me and good for the planet’ trend is also translating across into health and beauty brands also.  Five brands added nearly 50 million in additional supermarket sales in the last two years – Australian Botanical, Sukin, Only Good, Thank You and Organic Choice.

“Long life prepared meals experienced a drop of four percent in sales, while the petrol and convenience sector experienced strong growth in fresh meals, ready to cook kits, protein-packed snacks and cold pressed juices.   Youfoodz is one of these brands.”

Permissible Indulgence

“Australian shoppers are still indulging, but they are doing it in a more considered way,” Leathwood added.

“In the snack foods category, ‘better for you’ brands are growing at more than twice the rate of traditional crisps.  While traditional snacking products experienced two percent growth, ‘better for you’ brands grew in sales by five percent.

“Halo Top is a clear stand out in the ice cream category appealing to health conscious indulgers rather than dieters.   Fropro also experienced strong growth.

“Shoppers still want to be a bit naughty, but they believe by opting for products such as crisps with less oil, or ice cream with less fat, that they are being ‘good naughty’.  Yes, ‘good naughty’ is a thing.”


“While there are significant opportunities for growth for retailers and manufacturers in the food and grocery sector, particularly in the area of health and wellness, shopper preferences are becoming more fragmented and niche,” Leathwood added.

“Our insights show us that 54 percent of us have or plan to change aspects of our diet.  Worth noting is that we all have different ideas about what healthy means and this is driving an increase in market fragmentation and the proliferation of products catering to more specific needs.

“Shoppers are being influenced more than ever before and as a result have more specific forcefully expressed health needs and they are making decisions based on their own beliefs and personalised goals.   

“The challenge for retailers and manufacturers is to respond to the needs, desires and aspirations of shoppers and this is where insights come to the fore.   They show you what these needs, desires and aspirations are and when and where shoppers are likely to act on them.”

About IRI
IRI is a leading provider of big data, predictive analytics and forward-looking insights that help CPG, OTC health care organisations, retailers, financial services and media companies grow their businesses. A confluence of major external events — a change in consumer buying habits, big data coming into its own, advanced analytics and personalised consumer activation — is leading to a seismic shift in drivers of success in all industries. With the largest repository of purchase, media, social, causal and loyalty data, all integrated on an on-demand, cloud-based technology platform, IRI is empowering the personalisation revolution, helping to guide its more than 5,000 clients around the world in their quests to remain relentlessly relevant, capture market share, connect with consumers, collaborate with key constituents and deliver market-leading growth.  Across the Asia Pacific region, IRI, leads the industry in the delivery of state of the art solutions, market engagement and growth expertise and the execution of targeted, relevant, timely and outcome driven campaigns.  For more information, visit



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