Functional Ingredients

Label may be clean, but who’s checking?

Just half of consumers read the Nutrition Facts label, not significantly more than in 2008, according to the FDA’s Health and Diet Survey.

While the clean label movement grabs headlines and drives changes in product formulation, consumers have not been poring over back panels as much as one might think, according to a new FDA survey.
The agency released the results of its 2014 Health and Diet Survey, a national telephone survey of 2,480 adults (18 years and older) in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, conducted from June to August 2014. Fifty percent of adults said they read the Nutrition Facts label “always” or “most of the time,” while another 27 percent said they read the label “sometimes” when buying a food product. The numbers are not much different than results of the last edition of the study, conducted in 2008.
An Innova Market Insights report found that clean label has moved beyond being a trend and is now regarded as standard in the food industry. They found that consumers are demanding shorter and more recognizable ingredients lists and manufacturers are responding by increasingly highlighting the naturalness and origins of their products. But is the public even noticing? “Clean labels and label claims may be receiving more attention, but consumers haven't changed purchasing habits all that much,” noted Fooddive.com in a post about the research.
On the supplement side, more consumers reported checking out ingredients. Eighty-three percent of vitamin/mineral users looked for product information before using a product for the first time. In comparison, 93 percent of herbal product users looked for product information before using a product for the first time.

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