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Americans Want Uncle Sam’s Help Putting Healthy Foods on their Dinner Table

New survey finds out what Americans are really paying attention to when choosing foods

Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., March 8, 2010 — Americans recognize things need to change in the grocery aisle, and they support Uncle Sam’s efforts to overhaul what is included in their food and on the packages. The majority also believe they are individually responsible for making the right food choices to avoid obesity, but will readily accept the government’s help to be successful, according to a new survey by FoodMinds.

“In light of all the recent attention around food labeling and nutrition guidance programs, we wanted to get a sense of what the consumer actually thought,” said Grant Prentice, FoodMinds’ director of Strategic Insights. “We heard clearly they believe things need to change – and that it makes sense for the government to lead that charge.”

Americans Want Uncle Sam…

…Involved in Food Labels

  • Eighty-six percent of consumers are interested in the government implementing objective front-of-pack labeling that calls out calories and beneficial nutrients such as vitamin D or fiber
  • Seventy-seven percent of shoppers are interested in front-of-package labels designed to warn them of products with high calories, low nutrients
  • And, 64 percent said if their favorite food had a warning label on it, they would either eat less or stop buying the product entirely

…To Help Educate, Mitigate and Motivate

  • Seventy-four percent favor government-sponsored nutrition education programs to help them better identify the “good” versus the “bad” foods
  • Fifty-eight percent support the government banning advertising of “unhealthy” foods to children and young adults
  • Half are in favor of the government allowing employers to reward healthier employees while levying higher costs or fines to punish those who engage in unhealthy behaviors

…But Not His Taxes

  • Rejected by 65 percent of shoppers are proposed taxes on soft drinks and foods high in sugar and calories, but low in nutritional value

Just the (Nutrition) Facts, Ma’am

Consumers love food-related information — and want more of it, in particular basic, factual data.

  • The Nutrition Facts panel ranks first with 93 percent of shoppers saying it’s a very or somewhat useful tool, followed by front-of-pack information (low fat, high in fiber, etc.) at 88 percent
  • Not quite as popular are marketing-oriented claims such as “helps lose weight,” “helps build strong bones,” with 71 percent of shoppers finding them useful
  • Three quarters of shoppers like seeing where their food comes from (“organic,” “natural” and “sustainable farming practices”)

Not It! Significant Minority Believes Others Responsible for Individuals’ Eating Habits

  • When asked who holds the primary responsibility to make sure the public makes right food choices to avoid obesity, 38 percent chose: 14 percent said food companies, 12 percent said the government, nine percent said the health care system and three percent pointed to the educational systems

About the Food Temperance Survey

Created by the FoodMinds Strategic Insights department, the Food Temperance survey was conducted through Greenfield Online’s Omnibus service on January 18, 2010. The sample of 1045 adults is balanced on age, gender and region of the U.S. Sub-samples of 869 primary grocery shoppers and 182 Opinion Leader Shoppers were screened from the overall adult sample. The MOE is +/- 3% for primary grocery shoppers and +/- 7% for the opinion leader shoppers

About FoodMinds

FoodMinds is a food and nutrition company that harnesses science, public affairs and communications. FoodMinds applies knowledge and critical thinking to help its clients tell a better story that makes a difference. Visit www.foodminds.com to learn more.