The American diet is known for its extremes, potentially best captured in skyrocketing rates of both obesity (more than 40% of US adults are obese) and Ozempic prescriptions (the market for prescription weight loss drugs is expected to reach $1.9B this year). But many consumers, overwhelmed by resulting health anxieties and better-for-you buzz, are beginning to seek refuge in moderation. We’re witnessing a return to the basics as people reevaluate what constitutes a healthy diet - eating to fuel body, mind, and spirit.
34% of Americans aged 18-34 define healthy eating in part by “eating to support mental health,” compared to just 11% of those 55 and older. Younger generations are also less likely to cut back on specific foods than their older counterparts. “Intuitive eating,” a phrase coined in 1995 to describe the practice of embracing cues from your body to determine when and what to eat, has garnered mainstream appeal over the past year. (#IntuitiveEating has 1.8B views and has been mentioned over 1.4B times on TikTok.) And Americans are actively practicing moderation - 41% of US diners report choosing a mixture of healthy and indulgent options when dining out.
In a dry IPO market, Cava's very successful debut is proof of consumer resonance with the brand’s mission - “to bring heart health and humanity to food.” The Mediterranean fast-casual chain is plant-forward and ingredient transparent, without “finger-wagging” or compromising taste/fullness.