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Does Health and Nutrition Impact your Food Purchasing Habits?

Our nutrition from Washington University looks at how people shop for groceries.

The International Food Information Council Foundation (IFICF) annually conducts a survey on Americans views about food, food safety and health.

This year the results reflect the same overall emphasis as results from previous years. When it comes to purchasing food, taste is the number driver, followed by price and then healthfulness comes in third. At the same time, nearly all of those surveyed reported trying to improve at least one of their eating habits.

The web-based survey of 1,057 Americans, between the ages of 18 and 80, took place in April of this year.

The participants of the survey reflected the demographics of the US population for age, race/ethnicity, gender and region of the country. This years’ survey is the seventh annual survey conducted by IFICF.

Some of the key outcomes include the following:

  • 55 percent of Americans indicate they are trying to lose weight, up from 43 percent in 2011
  • 49 percent of Americans underestimate how many calories they are eating each day and 52 percent cannot estimate how many calories they burn each day
  • 48 percent report being physically active for at least 30 minutes a day five days a week
  • 67 percent try to eat as little fat as possible, with 75 percent choosing lower fat products sometimes
  • 60 percent of those surveyed consider sodium in a packaged food when choosing products
  • 51 percent of Americans try to limit or avoid sugar
  • 44 percent avoid high fructose corn syrup, while 45 percent say they don’t pay attention to it

In addition to these nutrition related facts, questions on food labeling provided insight into how consumers execute their concerns about healthier dining. Sixty-six percent of those surveyed check the Nutrition Facts panel and 67 percent look at the expiration date. Finally, the question of does health and nutrition impact what you buy was answered when respondents indicated what factors impact their decision to buy packaged food or beverages.

  • 71 percent consider calories
  • 67 percent consider whole grains
  • 62 percent consider fiber
  • 60 percent consider sugars in general
  • 60 percent consider sodium/salt
  • 60 percent consider fats/oils

What factors impact your decisions related to the foods you purchase for yourself or your family? Maybe it’s time to think about some healthier options. For more on the survey, click here.

Jaycen Rigger June 25, 2012 at 02:14 PM
There's nothing surprising here. I read a study about subsidized food choices in India. When people living in extremely poor areas were given more money for food, they didn't purchase greater quantities of healthy food that would keep them strong, they purchased more unhealthy food that tasted better. They then saved up their original income to purchase luxuries like internet, telephone service, and cable TV. My main point isn't that government subsidies are bad, but that people are people. We have been and always will be human. We make the choices we make based on our main drivers, and clearly eeking a little enjoyment out of life is higher on the priority list for many people than "healthy eating". Most of the time, studies like this are the starting point for some campaign to force people into a different behavior. I don't see the need. People must be free to make their own choices, and it's really no one's business (other than business owners) what choices people make or why. It certainly isn't the government's business.

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