What Consumers Want

What consumers are seeking from the food industry

Americans apparently are both impatient and ill-informed, according to a pair of new studies released in May 2006.

According to a survey conducted by the Associated Press and Ipsos, Americans are a highly impatient people – and that waiting in line at the grocery store is the most trying time consuming experience of all. Even worse than waiting in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles ... or the post office.

Half of people polled said that they will not return to stores that make them wait in line for too long a period of time.

At the same time, a new consumer survey conducted by the International Food Information Council Foundation — an organization funded by food, beverage and agricultural companies — suggests there are some specific areas in which consumers don’t know as much as they should ... or even as much as they think they do.

For example:
· Almost 90% of consumers polled said they have no idea how many calories they should be consuming to maintain their weight, and only a third of those polled seem to understand how extra calories contribute to weight gain.
· 40% of those polled said that while they understood that saturated fat and trans fat are bad for them, didn’t understand that certain kinds of fats are in fact healthy and good for them.
· Nearly a third of respondents who said they were at an ideal weight were actually overweight, while 75% of those who said they were overweight were actually obese.

There is, however, some good news. The survey results also say that, "more than half of consumers reported having improved their diets in the past six months by eating fewer calories and by adjusting the foods they ate. Nearly two of every three who made improvements said they had done so after talking with a health professional or family and friends, or simply after reading food labels."