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Consumers are thinking more about their health when choosing what to eat, now ranking it nearly as important as price in their food decisions, new survey results show.

In just two years, the number of consumers reporting a greater focus on health in food selection surged 10 percentage points, according to the annual survey conducted by the International Food Information Council Foundation. Health was cited as a top consideration in making food choices by 71 percent of consumers in 2014, up from 61 percent of consumers in 2012.

Taste and price remain important, with 90 percent of consumers naming the former and 73 percent the latter as among the top factors influencing their food choices in the most recent survey.

Among sub-groups that saw the greatest increases in health focus were 18- to 34-year-olds and those who are not college graduates.

“While people’s attitudes about healthfulness in their food and beverage purchases and consumption alone don’t necessarily mean we are a healthier country today than we were a year or two ago, it could signal that we are moving in the right direction,” said Marianne Smith Edge, senior vice president for nutrition and food safety at the foundation.

The online survey of 1,005 Americans, conducted in March and April, also found a steady erosion in confidence about food safety, with 66 percent of consumers saying they were at least somewhat confident in the food supply, down from 78 percent two years ago.

Half of consumers also reported trying to increase consumption of protein in their diets in the most recent data.

Source:  meatingplace.com, 5-26-2014

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