CHICAGO — US consumers' attitudes and behavior around health and wellness are shifting from diets and "can't haves" into whole-body health and lifestyle changes they feel will be long-lasting, according to a new report from the NPD Group. 

At the pandemic's beginning, stress and disorientation drove many consumers to indulge. Still, as the pandemic went on, consumers became more focused on health and wellness, according to NPD's recently released America's Health Pulse: Closing the Gap Between Wants and Needs.

Dieting today for many consumers isn't always about weight loss. To many, it's about good nutrition and their well-being, according to the report. 

About a quarter of US adults report to NPD they are on a diet, and 16% of those are on "their own diet" versus a  formal diet plan, like intermittent fasting or keto. According to NPD, consumers today customize their diets by adapting formal diet or nutrition plans to meet their individual wellness needs and lifestyle changes.

 Health and wellness goals vary by generation. When thinking about the long term, older Gen Zs, born 1997 to 2005, and younger Millennials, born 1990 to 1996, strive to look good or gain weight along with other health and wellness goals. On the other hand, older and younger Boomers are addressing their immediate health needs and want to stay healthy and live longer.  

"The pattern of consumer attention to health and wellness shows increasing awareness and adaptation across the board," said Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst. "This means consumers no longer think of health and wellness as an add-on, but as an integrated part of how they live their lives; that, in turn, opens opportunity for brands to become a permanent solution."