American consumers believe that the food they eat can make a significant difference to their health, but many admit that their own diet needs improvement, according to a new survey released this week. The Shopping for Health 2001 survey, compiled by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and US health magazine Prevention, also found that consumers are purchasing more fortified foods, organic produce, and prescription drugs at their primary supermarket, thereby strengthening the food retailers' position as a one-stop source for healthy solutions, the survey claimed. The report also revealed that American shoppers, unlike their European cousins, remain relatively unconcerned about genetically modified foods despite increased news coverage of the issue. Survey data for Shopping for Health 2001 was obtained from telephone interviews with a nationally representative sample of 1,200 adults. The results showed that nearly 6 in 10 shoppers (58%) feel they can greatly reduce the risk of certain diseases by eating healthfully. Three-quarters (76%) feel that eating healthfully is a better way to manage an illness than taking medication. And almost 58% claim that their supermarket purchases are greatly affected by health concerns, such as following a doctor's advice or reducing the risk of certain health conditions. More than 4 in 10 consumers (42 per cent) have bought some type of organic food to improve their health. Within that group, 34 per cent have bought organic fruits and vegetables, and 21 per cent have bought organic cereals, breads, and pastas. With regards to genetically modified foods only 12 per cent of shoppers surveyed claimed to have heard or read much about such products, and more than 60 per cent of these shoppers believe various applications of agricultural biotechnology are acceptable. Although the factors that encourage interest in self-care are the same for both sexes, men and women have different priorities when it comes to shopping for health, according to the report. Women tend to be more vigilant in self-care shopping. More than half (53%) have purchased a food product in the past month, because they believed the product offered a specific health benefit, compared with 45% of men. Women are also more likely to check the Nutrition Facts label and to seek out health information from both printed materials and from health care professionals. Both groups claim that having all food and health needs in one place is very important, according to the study. More than half of male shoppers (55%) and nearly two-thirds of female shoppers (64%) say one-stop shopping is very important in their ideal store. Men and women also agree that supermarkets do the best job of providing all of the products needed to maintain good health. Further information about the above report can be found on the FMI Web site.