Food & Beverage


Health & Wellbeing

Partisanship & Wellbeing
The Challenge
Project Highlight
Since 2016, we’ve seen an increased use of partisan language in our conversations about wellness and nutrition in conservative leaning parts of the country. That trend had us pondering the extent to which partisan associations with everyday products and behaviors are starting to push people away from choices that are objectively better for their health.

In 2024, we sponsored a study to take a more robust look at how partisan division influences people’s decisions around health, nutrition and wellbeing. We conducted a quantitative survey with 1,400 Americans across the country and further engaged 450 of those respondents in qualitative writing assignments. We then ran in-home ethnographies with ten people who epitomized the perspectives we encountered to put that learning into context.

While our survey showed people's associations with healthier products leaning to the political left while  associations with less healthy products leaned right, writing assignments and ethnographies unlocked nuances beneath the surface. This work brought to life the reality that partisanship in the US is rooted in fundamentally different assumptions around how much control individuals have over major outcomes in their lives. The liberals we met on the coasts routinely overestimated the amount of control they have over their lives while our conservatives in small towns routinely underestimated their ability to influence their situations. These assumptions are shaped by culture, religion, geography and varying access to opportunities in different parts of the country.

If your worldview is that you have the power and responsibility to control your destiny, products and services that help you take charge of your health and wellbeing are attractive. As a result these products are more attractive to coastal progressives and less attractive to conservatives in smaller towns.

The implications of this go well beyond health. If we want to see people making choices that are better for their wellbeing, we need to create more inclusive narratives around these choices that everyone can get behind. This goes beyond food and nutrition. A society where supposedly better choices are framed in ways only half of the population can relate to is a society where those choices are very unlikely to be  made.

Click the link below to request the full report and access to our film.

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