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Kids consume more yogurt as a snack, NPD finds

BY Allison Cerra

CHICAGO Although kids continue to eat fresh fruit for snack, The NPD Group is reporting that another snacking option is on the rise.

According to the market research company’s SnackTrack, kids ages 2 to 17 years consumed more refrigertated yogurt in 2009 than in 2008. Additionally, NPD’s food and beverage market research also found that potato chips, fresh fruit, string cheese and prepackaged cheese cubes or shapes and hard candy also experienced growth in 2009 versus 2008 as snack foods eaten between, with, or instead of meals.

SnackTrack is a source for snack food consumption information in Canada and the United States, focusing on individuals and their snack food usage. SnackTrack monitors all eating situations, both in-home and away, for specific, pre-determined food categories.

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Shoppers hunt for food deals online, Deloitte survey finds

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK Shoppers with an appetite for deals on food purchases are turning to online tools for help, a new Deloitte consumer survey found.

Deloitte’s 2010 consumer food safety survey found that one-third of the 1,102 respondents polled subscribe to receive e-mails, recipes and coupons directly from food manufacturers, up six percentage points from two years ago. A total of 23% of consumers visit a food company’s Web site to learn more about their products and will make a food purchase as a result.

Additionally, shoppers tend to become more bargain-hungry and will seek to compare prices, especially if they use a mobile device while shopping or when making shopping decisions, Deloitte noted, adding that men were more aggressive when it came to bargain hunting than women.

“Today’s consumers are using the Internet to not just find nutritional and safety information about the foods they eat, but to find the best value for their dollar,” said Pat Conroy, Deloitte’s vice chairman and consumer products practice leader in the United States. “If this recession has taught us anything, it’s that we don’t necessarily have to sacrifice quality for value — and consumers have figured that out by uncovering the wealth of product promotions and other marketing messages available on the Internet.”

In line with the results, Deloitte also noted that 52% of Americans surveyed preferred to purchase store brands when shopping for packaged or bottled food items. The result is in line with a Nielsen reported released last week that underscored the relationship of private-brand sales’ value and consumers.

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Eating nuts may lower cholesterol levels, study finds

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK A pooled analysis of 25 trials found that nut consumption may improve blood cholesterol levels.

The findings — which were published in the May 10 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine — noted that nuts contain plant proteins, fats (especially unsaturated fatty acids), dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins and other such compounds as antioxidants and phytoesterols.

Joan Sabate, M.D., Dr.P.H., of Loma Linda University in California, and colleagues pooled primary data from 25 nut consumption trials conducted in seven countries and involving 583 women and men with high cholesterol or normal cholesterol levels. All the studies compared a control group with a group assigned to consume nuts; participants were not taking lipid-lowering medications.

Participants in the trials consumed an average of 67 grams (about 2.4 oz.) of nuts per day. This was associated with an average 5.1% reduction in total cholesterol concentration, a 7.4% reduction in low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad” cholesterol) and an 8.3% change in ratio of LDL cholesterol to high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or “good” cholesterol). In addition, triglyceride levels declined by 10.2% among individuals with high triglyceride levels (at least 150 milligrams per deciliter), although not among those with lower levels.

“Nuts are a whole food that have been consumed by humans throughout history,” the authors wrote. “Increasing the consumption of nuts as part of an otherwise prudent diet can be expected to favorably affect blood lipid levels (at least in the short term) and have the potential to lower coronary heart disease risk,” noting that different types of nuts had similar effects on blood lipid levels.

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