Consumer Familiarity with Functional Food Benefits at an All-Time High

Consumer familiarity with foods that can provide benefits beyond basic nutrition, or functional foods, is at an all-time high, with 92% of Americans now able to name a food and its health benefit, according to the findings of a survey released yesterday.

WASHINGTON — Consumer familiarity with foods that can provide benefits beyond basic nutrition, or functional foods, is at an all-time high, with 92% of Americans now able to name a food and its health benefit, according to the findings of a survey released here yesterday. The International Food Information Council-commissioned study reports that the top five diet and health relationships named by consumers include: calcium for the promotion of bone health (89%); fiber for maintaining a healthy digestive system (86%); vitamin D for promotion of bone health (81%); omega-3 fatty acids for reduced risk of heart disease (76%); and fiber for reduced risk of heart disease (74%). Meanwhile, functional foods named top-of-mind by consumers are: fruits and vegetables; fish, fish oil and seafood; milk; whole grains; fiber; green tea; meat; water; certain herbs and spices; and nuts. “The American public is receptive and eager to receive nutrition information about specific foods and their health benefits,” said Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, director of health and nutrition for IFIC. “Consumers may not be able to tell you exactly what nutritional components they’re seeking when they shop for fruits and vegetables or fish, but they can tell you why they’re doing it. It’s because there’s a strong food and health-benefit connection at work.”

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