Nearly half of American shoppers would like to see calories, saturated fat, sodium and trans fat clearly labeled on food packaging to help them avoid unhealthy products, according to a new survey from HealthFocus.
The findings – from market researcher HealthFocus International’s global database – come in the wake of an Institute of Medicine (IOM) report released in October that recommended front-of-pack labeling of calories and certain nutrients to avoid (saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium) in order to better tackle obesity and related diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes, in the United States. The report is the first phase in a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigation into the most effective forms of front-of-pack labeling.
The HealthFocus research found that 45 percent of shoppers would like to see these elements clearly labeled, with most rating calories as the most important component to limit.
However, the study also found that obese customers were the least likely to pay attention to front-of-pack labels to the extent that they would change their food purchasing behaviors. Only 36 percent of obese shoppers read on-pack nutritional information, compared to 55 percent of shoppers overall, and obese shoppers were less likely to say that they paid attention to their diet (66 percent vs. 87 percent).