New survey reveals the most common reason Americans purchase junk food

Junk food consumption is currently responsible for 28.8% of the total calorie intake of the average American. Fifty-seven percent of U.S citizens between the ages of 18 and 29 eat junk food and or fast food at least once a week. Eighty percent of Americans confess to consuming various unhealthy foods monthly, even though they are aware of the adverse effects that this entails. A new poll conducted by Onepoll and funded by the organic soil and fertilizer company called Dr. Earth of 2,000 Americans identifies the reasoning behind this curious statistic.

Mistrust and high cost

The massive poll reports that 55% of respondents said they feel “forced” to buy junk food because it’s much more expensive to purchase healthy food products. Not too long ago, researchers over at Drexel University put together a study group of 2,800 Americans to locate the depth of the price disparity. The paper reported that on average, healthy, perishable foods were almost twice as expensive as unhealthy packaged foods; we’re talking a staggering 61 cents vs. 31 cents per serving. Moreover, the study determined that every 14% increase in the healthy to unhealthy food price ratio was associated with a 28% decrease in healthy diets.

“Nearly 40% of U.S. adults are obese and less than 20% attain recommendations for fruits and vegetables. Cheap prices of unhealthy foods relative to healthier foods may be contributing to obesity and low-quality diet,” explained the study’s lead researcher, Dr.Amy Auchincloss in Study Finds.

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Although high costs were the most commonly cited influencer of food insecurity, it was by no means the only one. A sizeable portion of the participants queried in the Onepoll survey expressed a lack of trust in the food industry that made them unable to condition the best healthy alternatives to purchase. An additional portion of the survey group, said many of the labels simply confused them. Three in four respondents said that they wish they knew more about the food their family consumed every night, with 30% saying they planned on starting their own garden just so they knew exactly what they were putting in their body.

As previously reported by Ladders, this occurrence is seldom by chance. Many companies capitalize on the purported popularity of healthy foods by accenting any buzzwords and singling out individual healthy ingredients contained in a product in order to effectively mislead half-informed shoppers. Milo Shammas, the CEO of Dr. Earth, expounds further in a press statement released on the back of the recent Onepoll report:

“Consumers can be misled with labeling with broad claims like [contains] organic or natural ingredients, this suggests that ‘only’ part of the ingredients are organic and the rest conventional. This is a common way to charge more for a partial organic product.”

Confusing words

The word “organic” was enough to warrant the purchase of three in four respondents, while three in five were more readily swayed by the words “all natural.” The problem is labeling guidelines permits the advertisement of “organic” even if only one ingredient in the product is actually organic in otherwise unhealthy food. Young Americans were discovered to be uniquely hip to these brand machinations. The Onepoll survey showed that 56% of respondents between the ages of 18 and 24 said they have zero faith in food advertisement.

The report offers an interesting silver lining. In the midst of a pandemic love of sweetened beverages, processed pastries, and fast food, Americans both want to eat better and are relatively keen and correctly worried about all of the sleight of hand tricks employed by a sizeable portion of food manufacturers.  Seventy-two percent of respondents said they genuinely fear unwittingly consuming pesticides.

“Control of our food is the greatest control of all if we know what we apply to our soils, we know what is growing out of our soils, we have the peace of mind of knowing our food is clean,” Shammas concluded.