Consumers Seeking Functional Foods

October 9, 2007

1 Min Read
Consumers Seeking Functional Foods

WASHINGTONNine out of 10 consumers can cite a nutrient/food and related health benefit, such as calcium for bone health, according to a new national survey commissioned by the International Food Information Council (IFIC). In the survey, Consumer Attitudes Toward Functional Foods/Foods for Health, the top ten functional foods, or foods with health benefits beyond basic nutrition, named top-of-mind by consumers, were: fruits/vegetables, fish/fish oil/seafood, milk/dairy, whole grains, fiber, green tea, meat, water, certain herbs/spices, and nuts.

Consumers also believe food and nutrition play a great role in maintaining or improving health (75 percent), and that certain foods have health benefits that go beyond basic nutrition and may reduce the risk of some disease (85 percent). This is particularly important, as 53 percent of consumers cited heart health as their top health concern; weight (33 percent), cancer (24 percent) and diabetes (17) percent are still on their minds as well.

The top five diet and health relationships cited by consumers were: calcium, for promotion of bone health (89 percent); fiber, for maintaining a healthy digestive system (86 percent); vitamin D, for promotion of bone health (81 percent); omega-3 fatty acids, for reduced risk of heart disease (76 percent); and fiber, for reduced risk of heart disease (74 percent).

The majority of Americans are interested in learning more about food and health relationships, and in consuming components, such as antioxidants, whole grains, fiber, probiotics, omega-3 fatty acids and soy, among others, for their health benefits. Thats a good thing, said Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, M.S., R.D., and director of health and nutrition for IFIC. The next step is motivating consumers to fit these foods into their diet so that they improve their health and sustain it for a lifetime.

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