FDA releases most recent diet survey findings.

  • FDA conducts periodic consumer surveys by telephone to help the Agency gain a better understanding of consumer knowledge, attitudes, and practices about current and emerging nutrition and labeling issues.
  • FDA recently released the results of its 11th Health and Diet Survey, which was conducted in 2014.  Among other data, the survey revealed that:
    • 77% of adults reported reading the Nutrition Facts label “always,” most of the time,” or “sometimes” when buying a food product;
    • Nearly all persons surveyed believed Americans consume too much salt, with 50% reporting that consumers can most effectively control sodium consumption, while 25% and 5% believed more effective sodium reduction efforts should come from food manufacturers/retailers and the government, respectively;
    • Almost 9 in 10 adults reported using claims such as “low in sodium, “rich in antioxidants,” “contains no added sugar,” and “no sugar added” when buying food products.  However, only one third of adults thought these claims accurately describe the products; and
    • 90% of survey respondents had heard about trans fat in food, but a quarter of this group could not tell whether trans fat raises, lowers, or has no relationship with the risk of heart disease.
  • FDA analyzes the diet survey data in conjunction with past surveys to help guide informed regulatory, educational, and other decisions in the food arena.  Based on the nature of the survey and the trends reported, we anticipate that many other stakeholders — such as food marketers — also may glean useful insights from reviewing these data.