CHICAGO — Consumers generally are aligned with the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans, said The NPD Group, Chicago, whose research shows many U.S. adults already seek to limit sugar intake and are less concerned about cholesterol.
“Consumer alignment with the new guidelines speaks volumes to our collective shift toward eating more healthfully,” said Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst. “We have nutritional information at our fingertips. Some seek it consciously and others hear it subliminally. If there is a weight or health problem, it’s typically not a result of nutritional ignorance.”
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which were released on Jan. 7, recommend only 10% of daily calories come from added sugars. Overall, U.S. consumers say sugar is the top item they seek to avoid in their diets, and more than a third of adults 55 and older eat sugar-free, unsweetened and reduced sugar products, NPD said.
Another distinction of the new guidelines compared with previous versions is they do not refer to a limit on cholesterol, and NPD research shows consumer concerns over fat and cholesterol have declined. Roughly a third of consumers look for fat on the Nutrition Facts Panel, down from 48% in 2004. The percentage of adults who look for cholesterol on the label has decreased steadily since 2006, said NPD. More than half of consumers do not monitor cholesterol intake, and consumption of eggs, previously cast as a dietary foe, has increased as consumers seek more sources of protein, according to NPD.The new guidelines also push for consumers to eat a variety of vegetables and whole fruit. Fruit has become a top growing snack; however, vegetables aren’t necessarily sprouting up in more shopping carts, NPD said.