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Aug. 27, 2012: How Consumers Choose Healthful Foods

Consumers are more likely to look for positive nutritional benefits such high fiber content or whole grains than they are to seek out products with “reduced” negative attributes, such as sugar or carbs, according to a report on healthy eating choices in the U.S. from Chicago-based Mintel. While 65% of consumers said high fiber was important in selecting a packaged food product, for example, it was less important for a product to have reduced or low sodium (54%) or reduced or low sugar (51%). The survey, which included polls of more than 2,000 consumers, also found disparities in consumers’ approach to healthy eating based on gender, age, income and other factors. Women were more concerned about health overall, and younger consumers showed a preference for “emerging” nutritional attributes such as gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetarian or vegan. Selecting natural products was important to about half of all respondents (51%).