Fortification gains on dieting, says report

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Percent, Nutrition

The average American today consumes at least two 'better for you'
products every day, according to research released yesterday.

This reflects a general trend of replacing dieting with eating better, said the NPD Group, which tracks Americans' eating habits. Indeed, according to the latest data from the group's National Eating Trends (NET) tool, the number of American adults on a diet has decreased by 10 percent since 1990, compared to a general increase in people eating healthier as a way to "battle the buldge". "A generation ago it was about subtracting bad things from your diet, but today healthy eating is more a matter of addition and subtraction​," said Harry Balzer, NPD vice president. NET monitors eating and drinking habits in the US and Canada. It measures specific foods and drinks consumed as well as preparation trends. It provides information on regional preferences, and 'user profiles' for specific food and beverage products, including gender, age and diet status. Popular choices ​ The latest data tracked eating habits over a two-week period. It found that the most frequently-consumed foods were reduced fat, reduced calorie, whole grain and fortified foods. During the two-week period, 79 percent of Americans reported eating reduced fat foods, while almost 58 percent ate light/diet/reduced or low calorie foods. Some 56 percent opted for whole grain products, and 54 percent ate fortified products. The next most popular items were cholesterol free/low cholesterol (34 percent), low salt/sodium free (29 percent), unsweetened/no sugar added (29 percent), caffeine free/decaffeinated (27 percent), reduced sugar/sugar free/sugar substitute (27 percent), organic (22 percent), and low/reduced carbohydrate (11 percent). Fortification ​ NPD Group's Dieting Monitor, which examines top-of-mind dieting and nutrition-related issues facing consumers, also found that fortification is a top concern for Americans. According to the data, increasing numbers of consumers are looking to add whole grains, dietary fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and probiotics into their diets. Awareness of these nutritional food elements also continues to grow. In 2005, 36 percent of consumers surveyed said they were trying to get more omega-3 fatty acids in their diets, and the most recent NPD Dieting Monitor shows that number increasing to 46 percent, said the group. Eating patterns ​ The NPD Group also publishes an annual Eating Patterns in America​ report, written by Harry Balzer. It its 23rd​ year this year, the report tracks the daily consumption habits of hundreds of thousands of Americans, and compiles data from more than 40 research efforts conducted by NPD.

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