Sugar is now the top item consumers search for on nutrition labels.
The NPD Group has reported that the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which are released every five years, were in the first week of January 2016, and one of the new guidelines’ strongest recommendation is limiting sugar intake.
Overall, U.S. consumers have indicated that sugar is the number one item they try to avoid in their diet and are eating less sugary foods and beverages, according to NPD’s ongoing food consumption research.
The new dietary guidelines recommend that only 10% of daily calories come from added sugars. Although this may sound like a lofty goal, consumers have cut down on foods and beverages with high sugar content, like carbonated soft drinks, fruit drinks, juice, ice cream, frozen treats and other sweet snacks. Consumption of sugar-free, unsweetened or reduced sugar products, which is highest among young children and adults 55 and older, follows the trend in concern about sugar overall. Calories were once the top item consumers looked for on nutrition facts labels, but now it is sugar.
Cholesterol, the outcast of past dietary guidelines, is no longer a dietary concern according to the new guidelines. NPD’s food consumption research shows that consumers are in line with this since their concern for cholesterol content has continued to decline since 2006. Eggs, which bore the brunt of the anti-cholesterol push, are back in vogue and consumption is up as consumers look for more sources of protein.
Eating more fruits and vegetables is a perennial federal dietary standard and is still front-and-center in the new guidelines. There is good and bad news in regards to this standard. The good news is: consumers are eating more fruits and fruit is among the top growing better-for-you snacks. The bad news is: vegetables are still fighting to find their way into Americans’ hearts and stomachs.
“Consumer alignment with the new guidelines speaks volumes to our collective shift toward eating more healthfully,” said Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst. “We have nutritional information at our fingertips. Some seek it consciously and others hear it subliminally. If there is a weight or health problem, it’s typically not a result of nutritional ignorance.”