Healthy intros influence eating habits

While public health officials and the media continue to trumpet how many Americans’ eating habits can adversely affect their health, consumers do not yet seem ready to swear off traditional snack foods in favor of more healthy options.

(For the full report, including charts, click here.)

According to recent IRI data, sales of nutrition bars and other healthy alternatives are showing mixed results.

These trends seemingly go against consumers’ perceptions of themselves. A recent report from the market research firm Packaged Facts noted that since 2004, the number of consumers who say they are healthy snackers has grown from 29 million to 41 million, or from 14% to 18% of the population.

Retailers say that the numbers do not tell the whole story. As more drug stores across the country put added emphasis on their ability to deliver health-and-wellness products, many are expanding their mix, adding such items as fresh fruits and vegetables.

Suppliers also are expanding the definition of snack food, offering more vegetable-based products, a wider range of nutrition bars and healthier versions of category staples, such as low-fat popcorn.

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