Food in the News, 2013

Childhood obesity stands out as being the most noteworthy food topic of 2013 among consumers, findings from the 11th annual Food News Study reveals. Hunter Public Relations, in partnership with Libran Research & Consulting, polls consumers to learn which stories are tops in terms of awareness and concern.

Fueled by First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign, fighting obesity in children ranked as the top news story in terms of both general awareness and concern. Hand-in-hand with the level of concern about childhood obesity, half of the 1,000 consumers polled indicate they took action in 2013, and are checking food labels more often, paying attention to ingredient lists and eating less processed foods.

The rise and fall of Hostess Twinkies (No. 2) and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's soda ban (No. 3) were also lead stories in terms of awareness. Bloomberg's consumer health initiatives made the grade in the 2007 Food News Study. For 2013 rankings, 90 percent of consumers were aware of the short-lived demise of Hostess Twinkies, but only 10 percent were concerned. Some 14 percent of consumers were concerned about Bloomberg's ban on large-sized sodas.

What didn't make the Food News Study list is also relevant. For the past six years, food safety concerns were ranked among the top three news items. But none resonated in 2013, likely because they're "making less media noise," Hunter PR said in a release about the study. Similary, for the first time in the past five years, food prices didn't make the cut with consumers. While the economy continues with a sluggish recovery, tight family budgets have become the norm.

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