iVillage, New Hope Natural Media Quiz Women on Healthy Eating

NBC Universal’s iVillage women’s online community and Penton Media’s New Hope Natural Media, which provides information on natural, organic, and healthy products, teamed up on research showing that a majority of women are more focused than ever on buying healthy foods.

The two parties said the full study will be released at New Hope’s Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, Calif., Saturday, to be presented by iVillage senior vice president of marketing Catherine Balsam-Schwaber and New Hope Consumer Portfolio director of content and research Nancy Coulter Parker. The study surveyed 4,898 iVillage members 18 and older Feb. 15-24.

Highlights from the findings:

A total of 73 percent of respondents read labels carefully, as they are concerned about specific additives, such as high-fructose corn syrup.

Approximately 50 percent look for specific health benefits such as high fiber, reduced fat, and low sodium, rather than general claims that food is “organic” or “natural.”

A total of 71 percent are very interested in buying healthy products at mainstream grocers.

While 57 percent believe organic food is better for them, only 26 percent will actually go out of their way to purchase it.

And 39 percent find that time is the biggest impediment to eating right, closely followed by willpower and motivation.

iVillage executive vice president Jodi Kahn said:

This inaugural research initiative has demonstrated the power of the iVillage community as a viable research tool and offers in-depth, marketable findings regarding their attitudes towards natural and organic foods. This deal allows us to bring the unique insights we already provide our major advertisers to an entirely different audience of thousands of natural-products companies and gives our community a chance to be heard in the process.

Penton CEO Sharon Rowlands added:

This study is chock full of information about products, health conditions, ingredients, and retailing that will help enable the natural, organic, and healthy products industry to develop new products and rethink marketing. We entered into this arrangement with iVillage hoping that the two leaders — New Hope in natural, organic, and healthy knowledge and iVillage in women’s shopping preferences — would be able to develop new offerings to grow this industry. We achieved our goal.