More than half of Americans (57%) believe ultra-processed foods have a negative impact on health. But two-thirds would eat more and even pay more for ultra-processed foods that contain more nutritious ingredients or offer added health benefits, according to a survey by plant cell technology company Ayana Bio.
Ayana Bio asked 2,000 American adults about their attitudes toward ultra-processed foods (UPFs), which the company defined as “foods that have gone through multiple levels of processing and contain additives such as preservatives, sweeteners, sensory enhancers, colorants, flavors, and processing aids.” More than eight in 10 survey respondents said UPFs are currently a part of their diet and cited several reasons for choosing these foods, including:
- Taste (62%)
- Convenience (59%)
- Longer shelf life (34%)
- Lower price (32%)
They would, however, like the UPFs they consume to be healthier. Most survey participants (64%) said they consider foods to be healthier if they’re more nutritious, and 68% would pay up to $3.00 more for UPFs that feature more nutritious ingredients. More than half of respondents would eat more UPFs if they contain higher quality ingredients.
Added health benefits would also drive more Americans toward UPFs. Most survey respondents (74%) would try an UPF that helps improve cardiovascular or brain function, promotes better sleep, or boosts immunity or energy.