Consumers eating more 'better-for-you' foods

by Staff
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ROSEMONT, ILL. — According to The NPD Group, the per cent of adults on a diet has decreased by 10 percentage points since 1990, but the per cent of Americans eating healthier has increased. Overall, there is a trend of consumers eating more "better-for-you" foods.

"While dieting for both women and men remain huge markets, they are not growing markets," said Harry Balzer, vice-president of The NPD Group. "The desire to lose weight really was a 90s trend. Today consumers appear to be making healthier choices."

The NPD Group found more than 70% of Americans are eating reduced-fat foods at least once in a two-week period, and more than half of them are eating reduced-calorie, whole grain or fortified foods. Other "better-for-you" foods include diet, light, reduced-cholesterol, reduced-sodium, caffeine-free, sugar-free, fortified, organic and low-carbohydrate foods. The average American eats at least two "better-for-you" products a day, the research showed.

Most consumers are adding whole grains, dietary fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and probiotics to their diet, according to NPD. In fact, 36% of consumers surveyed in 2005 said they were trying to get more omega-3 fatty acids in their diet, but NPD’s most recent survey shows this number has increased to 46%.

"A generation ago it was about subtracting bad things from your diet, but today healthy eating is more a matter of addition and subtraction," Mr. Balzer said.

In addition, eating healthy is still important to consumers despite current economic conditions. Adults who said they are financially worse-off compared with last year still said eating healthy had the greatest impact on the food and beverages their household buys. Saving money came in a close second.

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