Survey shows importance of nutrition labels

Nutrition labels play a big role as Americans focus on diet as a way to achieve long-term good health, according to a report issued by the Food Marketing Institute and Prevention magazine.

Shopping for Health 2004 found that 83% of shoppers regularly consult the Nutrition Facts panel when buying a product for the first time, and 91% of these will decide whether or not to purchase based on that information.

Shoppers also look for specific product claims. Most sought after, in order, are: “low-fat,” “whole-grain,” “low-calorie,” and “low-salt-sodium.” Shoppers also look for claims of being high in certain nutrients—calcium, vitamin C, vitamin-rich, or vitamin-fortified. Forty-two percent of shoppers say they’ve purchased foods claiming to reduce the risk of heart disease, and 26% said they purchased foods claiming to reduce cancer. The report also found that organic foods are increasing in popularity for their perceived health benefits.

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