Delicious Living Blog

Why are people afraid of food?

Too many scary food stories. Too many choices. Why has it become so hard to enjoy cooking? Our Future of Wellness research this year tells the story: People are confused by food.

Last week, my New Hope Natural Media colleagues Nancy Coulter-Parker and Dave Kingsbury presented a sneak peek of findings from this year’s Future of Wellness, a research project that talks to real people in their homes to find out exactly what they’re thinking about health, wellness, food and more. (Hear and see the full presentation at Expo West, March 9, at 12:15pm.)

My main takeaway: People are really, really stressed. And they’re afraid of food.

What I'm hearing is that there is now so much information—a constant barrage of new studies, media articles, cooking shows, product details, etc.—that people are exhausted trying to figure out what they “should” eat.

“The pressure to know what food to buy is almost unbearable,” Coulter-Parker said. “People are confused, disgusted and infuriated.”

And because of this, many people are nervous about cooking and feeding themselves and their families, but they desperately desire to feed them well.

As Delicious Living’s food editor, my immediate thought is: How can I help?

What can I do to convince people that cooking at home is fun, easy, and healthy? What are the missing pieces (education? product picks? more recipes? how-to videos?) that people need in order to enjoy cooking at home? What can or should stores do to reduce shoppers’ anxiety and help them take pleasure in food again?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Discuss this Blog Entry 2

Jenna Duffy (not verified)
on Feb 28, 2012

I don't doubt it! With all the latest about corn, GMO's, & arsenic I'd believe so! I recently went on an Ayurvedic vegan cleanse and now can't find anything in even health food stores that I feel comfortable with eating. I'm hungry but dairy is bad, soy is bad, gluten is bad, wheat is bad, almost everything we produce as a country as a whole is full of chemicals, additives, and modified ingredients. It's such a shame we've strayed this far from nature!

Melissa Montovani (not verified)
on Mar 2, 2012

Is there a general fatigue around these issues? Yes, I don't personally feel it because I do a lot of personal research that cuts through some of the confusion. However, my boyfriend expresses this a lot when I tell him some new information.

I think one of the main problems is that there are studies that seem to be conflicting, but if you know what to look for, they aren't. With soy, for example, consuming whole soy foods, like tofu, tempeh, soy milk, and edamame, are known have beneficial results for those who aren't allergic to it. The major difference, however, is when people prepare foods using compounds from soy, like soy protein isolate or textured vegetable protein, which are processed to remove many of the components of soy and leaving a product that is higher in protein. Same thing goes for the soy components found in plenty of processed foods, like granola bars.

For me, it's important to eat whole foods and avoid the more highly processed ones.

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