The old adage, “You are what you eat,” has been more top of mind in recent years as the wealth of health and wellness information inspires consumers to consider their diets. According to the International Food Information Council Foundation’s 2012 Food & Health Survey, nearly all Americans say they have given at least a little thought to the healthfulness of their diets, physical activity and the safety of the food they eat and are trying to improve at least one of their eating habits. The report notes that consumers are considering calories and various dietary components — including fiber, sugars and fat — when making purchasing decisions and cite healthfulness as the third most important factor in their purchase decisions, following taste and price.
However, the wealth of information that drives these dietary changes and purchase decisions also can confuse consumers due to its changing and sometimes conflicting nature. According to the report, 76 percent of consumers feel that changes in nutritional guidance make it hard to know what to believe. In fact, more than half of Americans believe it is easier to figure out their income taxes than to figure out what they should and should not eat to be healthy, the report states. In order to determine whether or not they believe new information about food and health, 26 percent of Americans say they will follow up with their own research to make a judgment call, 24 percent will judge the information based on how much they trust the source of the information, and 14 percent will simply use their own judgment.