Consumers concerned about limiting 'bad' nutrients

by Staff
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LONDON — Although the public has been showing more interest and desire to eat more healthful, nutrient-rich foods and drinks, consumers still place importance on moderating fat, sugar, salt and carbohydrate consumption, according to "Moderating and Avoidance Trends in Foods and Drinks: Implications for ‘Better-For-You’ Offerings," a new report from market analyst Datamonitor.

The study shows that the majority of U.S. and European consumers are taking a more restrictive approach to healthy eating and are focusing mainly on eliminating or reducing fats from their diet. There also is increased awareness of different types of fats, especially in the U.S.

"This awareness is not always reflected by detailed knowledge, suggesting that manufacturers and retailers — with the support of industry institutions — need to continue consumer education initiatives," said Michael Hughes, consumer market analyst and author of the study.

Datamonitor showed that 74% of European and U.S. consumers consider reducing saturated fat intake important, 68% considered reducing sugar intake important, 64% considered controlling calorie intake important and 61% considered reducing salt intake important.

"With increased emphasis on the nutritional value of food and drink, it is only natural that consumers will devote greater time to studying labels and packaging of food and drink to assess the content of the product," Mr. Hughes said. "No wonder the debate over food labeling continues to escalate."

More than half of European and U.S. shoppers used nutritional information on packaging with greater consistency as a guide to make food and drink choices in 2006, according to Datamonitor.

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