Poll: Older U.S. adults tend to make health-conscious decisions when purchasing food, beverages

NEW YORK — Most U.S. adults are health-conscious when it comes to purchasing food and beverages, and many tend to purchase healthier products as they age, according to a new Harris poll.

Among 2,379 adults surveyed online between March 7 and 14 by Harris Interactive, at least three-quarters of all U.S. adults placed importance on fresh (89%), fiber (81%), whole grains (81%), fat content (80%), portion size (79%), calories (77%) and saturated fat (76%) when making food and beverage purchases. Specialized nutritional items, however, are rated much lower, with 33% and 20% rating gluten and vegan, respectively, as important.

The poll also found that "matures," consumers ages 66 years and older, are the most likely of all generations to pay close attention to nutritional facts and translate their health consciousness into behavior, likely due to the fact that they need to follow a diet with specific restrictions. More than three-quarters of "matures" (76%) have a diet restriction, compared with 58% of baby boomers (ages 47 to 65 years), 50% of generation Xers (ages 35 to 46 years) and 51% of echo boomers (ages 18 to 34 years). What's more, "matures" also are more likely to curb their salt or sugar intake than any other generational group.

The latest poll may indicate that nutritional initiatives in recent years likely have boosted health-conscious decisions when it comes to eating habits, although translating awareness into behavior should continue to be reinforced.

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