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    Americans Want Gov’t Help in Determining Healthy Foods: Survey

    A recent survey by Oakbrook, Ill.-based food and nutrition company FoodMinds has found that a majority of Americans back the government’s efforts to revise food content and labeling, as they realize such measures will assist them in their goals of becoming healthier and losing weight.

    A recent survey by Oakbrook, Ill.-based food and nutrition company FoodMinds has found that a majority of Americans back the government’s efforts to revise food content and labeling, as they realize such measures will assist them in their goals of becoming healthier and losing weight.

    “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 FoodMinds director of strategic insights Grant Prentice. “We heard clearly they believe things need to change — and that it makes sense for the government to lead that charge.”

    Further findings from the survey include the following:

    —Eighty-six percent of respondents are interested in the government implementation of objective front-of-pack labeling that lists calories and beneficial nutrients such as vitamin D or fiber
    —Seventy-seven percent are interested in front-of-package labels that will warn them of products that are high in calories and low in nutrients
    —64 percent said that if their favorite food had a warning label on it, they would either eat it less often or stop buying it altogether
    —Seventy-four percent are in favor government-sponsored nutrition education programs to help them better identify “good” and “bad” foods
    —Fifty-eight percent back a government ban of advertising “unhealthy” foods to children and young adults
    — Half support the government allowing employers to reward healthier employees while levying higher costs or fines to punish those who engage in unhealthy behaviors
    —Ninety-three percent said the Nutrition Facts is a very or somewhat useful tool, while 88 preferred front-of-pack information
    —Seventy-one percent thought marketing-oriented claims such as “helps lose weight,” and “helps build strong bones” were useful
    —Three quarters want to see where their food comes from (labels such as “organic,” “natural” and “sustainable farming practices”)

    Interestingly, despite their overwhelming preference for government oversight on food and nutrition matters, 65 percent are against proposed taxes on soft drinks and foods high in sugar and calories but low in nutritional value. While a majority of respondents said that they’re individually responsible for making the right food choices, 38 percent put the onus on others. Of that figure, 14 percent chose food companies, 12 percent said the government, 9 percent singled out the health care system and 3 percent cited the educational system.

    Created by the FoodMinds strategic insights department, the Food Temperance survey of 1,045 adults was conducted through Greenfield Online’s Omnibus in January 2010.

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