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    Survey: Americans Say They Plan to Cook More, Eat Healthier

    WASHINGTON -- Half of American consumers surveyed say they will eat more low-fat foods and cook more meals from scratch at home in 2004, according to a new survey conducted for the Grocery Manufacturers of America by Phil Lempert on his SupermarketGuru.com Web site.

    WASHINGTON -- Half of American consumers surveyed say they will eat more low-fat foods and cook more meals from scratch at home in 2004, according to a new survey conducted for the Grocery Manufacturers of America by Phil Lempert on his SupermarketGuru.com Web site.

    Fifty-three percent of the 1,650 consumers surveyed say they want to eat more low-fat foods, while 51 percent responded that they intend to cook more from scratch at home.

    Respondents also indicated that convenience will remain a factor in meal planning, with 29 percent answering that they will "eat more freshly prepared foods that need to be heated," while 27 percent said they will "cook more meals at home using prepared ingredients."

    When asked what types of cuisines shoppers will eat more of in 2004, the top three answers were "low-fat" (49 percent), "low-carbohydrate" (40 percent), and "fat-free" (27 percent), indicating that healthy eating is the top priority of consumers. Twenty-eight percent of respondents selected "nutritional value" as the No. 1 factor when purchasing the main ingredient for dinner, just ahead of price (27 percent).

    The low-carb diet trend is clearly affecting consumers: 74 percent of those surveyed said they were following a low-carb diet, and 60 percent said they were on the diet to lose weight. Low-carb protein bars and breads were the most commonly purchased products (bought by 54 percent and 41 percent of respondents, respectively), followed by low-carb ice cream (31 percent), chocolate (30 percent), and beer (20 percent). Perhaps most significantly, 82 percent of those surveyed think the low-carb diet trend will last, with 51 percent saying they think it will last "forever."

    Lempert presented the survey's results at the GMA's recent Merchandising, Sales & Marketing Conference. While noting that the nearly 1,650 respondents were self-selected participants in the nonrandom survey, Lempert said that results of previous SupermarketGuru.com surveys tended to be reflected in scientific surveys about nine months later.

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