Its survey of 1,000 consumers found nearly two-thirds (63%) of people cited health as their primary driver up from 58% in 2019.
This news comes as Mintel research during the pandemic found vegan diets had become more attractive to consumers during the pandemic. In particular, a quarter (25%) of young British Millennials (aged 21-30) were attracted to it.
The research showed there had been a shift in how healthy consumers perceived their diets, with people feeling their diets were less healthy during lockdown than in 2019.
However, over half of consumers (57%) claimed they were already changing their diets or were considering making changes to develop healthier and more sustainable lifestyles, down from 66% in 2019.
The IGD research indicated the advent of COVID-19 had driven a significant shift in the value placed by parents on their health. A total of 35% of parents valued their own health as the primary motivator to eat healthily and sustainably in 2020, compared to 24% in 2019.
Perceived higher cost remains the main barrier to healthy and sustainable diets, with 38% of consumers thinking it they were more expensive. Other barriers include people liking the taste of their current dietary choices too much (24%), being creatures of habit (23%) and a lack of familiarity (17%).
Hannah Pearse, head of nutrition and scientific affairs at IGD, said: “We faced significant health and environmental challenges before COVID-19 and the global pandemic brought these issues into the spotlight.
“Not only has COVID-19 highlighted our reliance on an effective and efficient food supply chain, but also reinforced that our diets are inextricably linked with our health
“Evidence has shown that people living with obesity are 50% more likely to die from COVID-19 and to help combat this, the government has launched a new strategy to reduce obesity.”
The survey builds on IGD’s Appetite for Change report, which was released in March 2020 and based on data gathered in November 2019.