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What do consumers heed?

Americans rate themselves as best at understanding the nutrition labels on the foods they buy, according to a global survey of consumers by ACNielsen that included 38 countries.

Sixty-five percent of American consumers said they “mostly” understand the nutrition food label. But the survey revealed that Americans focused mainly on fat and calories and didn’t pay attention to many of the other ingredients.

Nearly half (49%) of consumers globally regularly checked the fat content listed on labels. It was the top item in both North America and Europe. But calories were the top item for consumers in Latin America, while consumers in the Asia-Pacific region focused on preservatives.

Consumers around the world said they are most likely to check the food label when buying a product for the first time. Only 21% claim to “always” read the label. “This survey shows a lot of upside potential for getting consumers involved in using product labels,” said an ACNielsen spokesperson.

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