Consumers Want Simpler Food Labels: Study

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Consumers Want Simpler Food Labels: Study

By Alex Palmer - 08/04/2009
Americans want an easier way to assess the nutritional value of their food, according to a new survey from Guiding Stars Licensing Co. (GSLC) The survey, conducted by New York-based Kelton Research and drawing on the responses of 1,000 individuals, found that 74 percent of people hold negative views of the Nutrition Facts Panel on their food products.

Twenty-eight percent considered them “exhausting to read,” and 24 percent found them “difficult to understand.” Eleven percent said they were “not helpful” and “something to ignore.”

“Our research shows that there’s a need in the marketplace for a simpler solution to help identify healthier food choices,” said John Eldredge, director of brand and business development at Scarborough, Maine-based GSLC.

A fourth of those surveyed (25 percent) agreed that they would appreciate some sort of good-better-best rating system on their food products, to make it easier to quickly establish the nutritional value of various products.

The Nielsen Company, in a June survey, also found that many Americans were avoiding reading food labels. Less than a third (30.5 percent) of households usually read labels on food and beverage packages, according to those findings. Nielsen is Progressive Grocer’s parent company.

Despite this low overall rating, Nielsen did find that this number is higher for those grocery stores whose focus is healthier food, such as Whole Foods (52.4 percent read the labels) and Trader Joe’s (42.9 percent), indicating that those concerned about their health find the labels more valuable.