We’ve been wondering a little bit about the prevalence of foods people avoid in their diets and how much overlap there is among the different things people must avoid.

There is some information available but what happens among the population we’re creating Nima for?

We have one good source of quantitative data with thousands of people: our wait list. When people sign up, they let us know what foods they are avoiding in their diets. While this data is skewed because this is based on people who have found out about us and have opted into a newsletter, this is still valuable for people who want to understand what is happening with food allergies, avoidances, and immune responses. Of all of those who have signed up for email, 94% have provided us with a list of foods they are avoiding.

Caveats: This data is based on a sub-group of people who have voluntarily signed up for our waitlist and all data was anonymized for the purposes of analysis. These people have found out about us through various marketing activities ranging from public relations, digital advertising, social media, events, word of mouth, and referrals. The bulk of those efforts were dedicated to finding people who avoid gluten, so the data is skewed towards those who avoid gluten for any reason. The sample size for this analysis is about 3500 people.

We don’t know why people avoid these different foods, but we can provide some insight based on qualitative feedback from users:

  • Immune disorder such as Celiac
  • Food allergies and intolerances, with a wide range of symptoms from mild to severe, including anaphylaxis
  • Just feeling better because they are not eating it
  • To manage health for people with everything from Hashimotos, Crohn’s, Colitis, ADD, ADHD, and Autism, among others

How many foods are people avoiding?

The majority says they are trying to stay away from 2 or more foods, with 7% avoiding five or more allergens.

survey: how many foods do people avoid?

What is this audience avoiding?

We allow people to indicate which of eight allergens they are avoiding with an “other” to catch items not in this list. That said, we also track inbound requests, mentions in social media directed to us, and customer service emails, so we can share some of the top items beyond the top eight.

As previously stated, since the first item we’re starting with is gluten, the data is skewed towards those who are avoiding gluten. The data does provide a peek into the crossover with this audience.

95% of our audience is interested in avoiding gluten, while slightly more than half want to avoid wheat, not surprisingly. Milk and soy follow those.

survey: what foods do people avoid?

It should be noted that even though shellfish is a smaller percentage that we’ve heard from a lot of people how difficult this allergen is as it appears in sauces, sauces, dressings, and soups.

Beyond the top eight, what are people telling us they need help detecting? These are the top picks:

  • Corn
  • Pepper
  • Food dyes
  • Sesame
  • Coconut
  • Oats
  • Mustard

We’ll continue to report out on these trends over time – and help people to see there are plenty of other people out there just like them – who want to be able to trust their food.