WASHINGTON, May 13, 2015 – A new survey commissioned by the International Food Information Council Foundation indicates that a diverse set of factors – health status, gender, income, education, age – influence Americans’ level of priorities regarding their health, food and nutrition.
For example, the survey showed that more than half of U.S. adults think they are in “very good” or “excellent” health -- yet more than half of that number are overweight or obese, indicating, as the Council put it in a news release, “that their perception of health status is not necessarily affected by their weight status.”
The “2015 Food &Health Survey: Consumer Attitudes toward Food Safety, Nutrition & Health” is the 10th edition of an ongoing investigation into the beliefs and behaviors of Americans. The survey of 1,007 Americans ages 18 to 80 was conducted March 13-26 and weighted to represent the demographics of the U.S.
Among the findings:
· More than three in four Americans would rather hear what they should eat than what they should not eat. This feeling has grown from just two years ago, with 33 percent now strongly agreeing compared to 26 percent in 2013.
· Almost nine in 10 Americans (89 percent) says it’s important to get enough protein in their diet and that protein can be part of a heart-healthy diet (86 percent). Cost is the leading perceived barrier in eating more protein.
· In the past year, nearly two-thirds of Americans have thought about whether their foods and beverages are produced in an environmentally sustainable way, but only one in five think about the topic a lot and just one in three say it has an impact on their purchasing decisions. The survey also found there was little consensus on the meaning of a sustainable diet.
· About half of Americans agree that biotechnology can be one tool to help provide enough food for a growing global population. Two-thirds said the overall healthfulness of the food and beverage is more important than the use of biotechnology in its production.
· One in five Americans (19 percent) spend less than 15 minutes cooking or preparing dinner on an average weekday, with men especially spending little time in the kitchen.
· Topping the list of what consumers are trying to get a certain amount or as much as possible of: whole grains (56 percent), fiber (55 percent), protein (54 percent) and calcium (43 percent). Things they are trying to avoid include: sugars in general (55 percent), sodium/salt (53 percent), trans fats (49 percent), high fructose corn syrup (48 percent), saturated fats (47 percent), and calories (47 percent).
Generally speaking, the survey’s authors said the survey shows the impact of income on consumers’ priorities and purchasing behaviors, with higher income Americans more likely to buy foods labeled as “organic.” When lower income Americans were asked what they’d do if given an extra $100 a month, they said they were more likely to spend the money on groceries than those with a higher income.
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