Health survey indicates consumers are confident in food supply

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, May 23, 2012- The International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation 2012 Food and Healthy Survey shows that three out of four Americans are confident in the U.S. food supply, which is a significant increase over the past year, said IFIC Foundation Nutrition and Food Safety Senior Vice President Marianne Smith Edge.

In 2011, 50% of Americans were either somewhat or extremely confident in the safety of the food supply and 31% were neither confident nor unconfident. 19% were not very or not at all confident.

This year, 78% were either very or somewhat confident; 18% were not too or not at all confident and only 4% reported that they were not sure, according to IFIC. 

“Despite some high profile food safety issues taking place during the survey, we see three out of four [Americans] are confident in the US food supply,” she said. “This confidence is reflected that by the fact that six out of 10 believe little chance exists that they will be inflicted by foodborne illness.”

The same survey indicated that more than eight out of 10 Americans admitted to giving some thought to the safety of their food. The expiration date is noted as the most important item when deciding to purchase food or beverages, with the nutrition fact panel coming in second. 

Additionally, Edge explained that most Americans (52 percent) answered that figuring out their income taxes is easier than knowing what they should and shouldn't eat to be healthier.

The survey found that people think a great deal about the healthfulness of their diets and want to make improvements. Yet, 76 percent agree that ever-changing nutritional guidance makes it hard to know what to believe.

When it comes to making decisions about food, consumers today rely most often on their own research rather than third-party experts, according to the IFIC survey.  Six out of 10 Americans have given a lot of thought to the foods and beverages they consume (58 percent) and the amount of physical activity they get (61 percent). Yet, only 20 percent say their diet is very healthful and 23 percent describe their diet as extremely or very unhealthful; less than 20 percent meet the national Physical Activity Guidelines.

Consumers also indicated they are trying to eat more whole grains, fiber and protein, while cutting calories, sugar, solid fats and salt. However, Edge reported that taste (87 percent) remains the most significant determinant of food and beverage choices, followed by price, which dropped significantly as a factor compared to 2011, and healthfulness. 

Mathew Greenwald & Associates of Washington, D.C. fielded the survey between April 3 and 13, 2012, which involved 1,057 Americans ages 18 to 80, with results weighted to match the U.S. Census based on age, education, gender, race/ethnicity, and region. 

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