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October 09, 2003   Email to Friend 

Debra Davis
(334) 613-4686
October 09, 2003

Half of American consumers say they will eat more low-fat foods and cook more meals from scratch at home in 2004, according to an exclusive survey conducted for the Grocery Manufacturers of America by Phil Lempert on his SupermarketGuru.com® Web site.

Fifty-three percent of those surveyed say they want to eat more low-fat foods, while 51 percent of those who responded said they intend to cook more from scratch at home.

Respondents also indicated that convenience will remain a factor in meal planning, as 29 percent answered that they will "eat more freshly prepared foods that need to be heated," while 27 percent said they will "cook more meals at home using prepared ingredients."

When asked what types of cuisines shoppers will eat more of in 2004, the top three answers were "low-fat" (49 percent), "low-carbohydrate" (40 percent) and "fat-free" (27 percent), indicating that healthy eating is top priority for consumers. Twenty-eight percent of respondents selected "nutritional value" as the number one factor when purchasing the main ingredient for dinner, just ahead of price (27 percent).

The low-carb diet trend is clearly affecting consumers, as 74 percent of those surveyed said they were following a low-carb diet, and 60 percent said they were on the diet to lose weight. Low-carb protein bars and breads were the most commonly purchased products (bought by 54 percent and 41 percent of respondents, respectively), followed by low-carb ice cream (31 percent), chocolate (30 percent) and beer (20 percent). Perhaps most significantly, 82 percent of those surveyed thought the low-carb diet trend will last, with 51 percent saying they thought it would last "forever," said GMA.

Shoppers also place a high value on brands, as 80 percent said that "familiarity with the company" is either "very" or "somewhat" important when buying foods. When asked "what is the meaning of trust as it relates to food and the companies that make the foods," four out of five respondents selected "high food safety standards" and "quality" as defining terms. When asked in which categories consumers would only purchase a brand that is known and trusted, the top three food categories were sodas (47 percent), canned soup (44 percent) and breakfast cereals (40 percent).

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