Before you purchase packaged foods, do you check the labels for fat, sodium or sugar content? A new report from market-research firm Mintel suggests there is a good chance you do, and an even better chance you are dieting or taking steps to lose weight.
In the Mintel research, according to a company release, 44 percent of survey respondents indicated they usually or always consult the Nutrition Facts panel for information on sodium content in foods they purchase. Even more, 51 percent, say they always or usually look at fat content, while 47 percent check sugar levels and 49 always or usually examine calorie counts.
More than half – 59 percent of respondents – say they always or usually limit salt consumption when at home, while 44 percent do so when dining at a restaurant.
The release doesn’t define exactly what constitutes dieting, but 60 percent of the survey respondents say they are doing it.
Interestingly, while consumers want disclosure of nutritional information such as sodium content, most also want to be able to choose for themselves, and don’t favor additional restrictions. In this study, 46 percent of respondents indicated that manufacturers should implement sodium restrictions, and just 34 percent believe the government should do so.
As to who is responsible for disclosing sodium content, nearly two thirds – 62 percent – believe manufacturers are responsible, while 35 percent think it is up to the government and 18 percent think it is the responsibility of retailers.
Women still do most of the food shopping for families, and according to this research, they are more concerned than men about healthy eating. In this survey, 80 percent of women indicated they limit the amount of salt they use in cooking, compared with 67 percent of men. At the supermarket, 25 percent of women say they always check the sodium content of foods, compared with 18 percent of men.
Also, the percentage of consumers who always check the sodium content of packaged foods goes up among older age groups, with 22 percent of all respondents always checking, 32 percent of those aged 55 to 64 and 33 percent of those older than 65.