According to the International Food Information Council Foundation's (IFIC) 2010 Food & Health Survey: Consumer Attitudes toward Food Safety, Nutrition and


Controlling Interest
Weight control efforts reached something of a zenith when Coca-Cola and Nestle introduced the Enviga line of teas, which promised to burn calories. In the time since they were launched, however, the line has met with controversy, being the subject of a lawsuit over its calorie-burning claims.


Health, nearly three quarters of Americans (70%) indicate they are concerned about their weight status, with even more (77%) noting they are trying to lose or maintain their weight. However, despite years, if not decades, of advice to manage calories consumed vs. calories burned, IFIC's survey finds 58% make no effort to balance the two. For that matter, only 19% of those trying to lose or maintain weight say they track their calories.

Some 64% of those polled noted they are ìmaking an effort to improve the healthfulness of their diet,î a number which IFIC has found to be consistent since 2007. Of Americans who are seeking to make changes to their diet, weight loss is the primary motivator for 65% of them, while maintaining weight is the goal of 16% of that group. Improving overall well-being and improving physical health garnered 59 and 56%, respectively.

To improve their dietsí healthfulness, 76% of consumers say they are changing the types of foods and/or components they consume, while 70% are altering the amount of food they consume, and 44% are amending how often they eat.

IFIC finds 72% of consumers are adding more fiber to their diets, with 73% increasing their whole-grain consumption; however, it notes consumers ìremain confused about the benefits of consuming more complex carbohydrates. IFIC numbers indicate 23% are increasing their consumption of these carbs, with 24% reducing and 53% keeping their consumption levels the same.

Indeed, the satiating effects of fiber have led to a number of introductions touting the ingredient. In the recently reformulated Quaker Weight Control Instant Oatmeal, for instance, the three varieties have 6g of dietary fiber. Furthermore, each of the three options--banana bread, cinnamon, and maple and brown sugar--also boast 4g of soluble fiber per serving, all helping the product to tout its claim of ìusing whole-grain help consumers with their weight management plan and to help satisfy hunger.î

Also incorporating whole grains and dietary fiber, Kraft's Nabisco brand's Triscuit Baked Whole Grain Wheat Crackers are made from rye with caraway seeds. Promising to be a good source of dietary fiber (offering 3g per 28g serving), the snacks contain 0g of trans fat and are baked with 100% whole grains. However, its positioning is not entirely centered around weight management; in fact, the manufacturer is quick to note, 'Diets rich in whole-grain foods and other natural plant foods, low in saturated fat and cholesterol may help reduce the risk of heart disease.'

Weight control has frequently been paired with other positionings, including in Genesis Todayís Kiwi Probiotics Yogurt Smoothie, which initially was marketed as Kiwi Cleanse. This drinking yogurt blends kiwi, strawberry and other fruit juices from concentrate and non-fat yogurt. The manufacturer notes its high fiber content (4g per 200ml serving) supports weight control, as well as healthy digestion and metabolism, plus daily cleansing.

However, adding ingredients to foods and beverages has been just one method of luring the weight-conscious consumer. A number of products boast certain nutritional information on the front-of-pack, including Lean Pockets. The Nestle brand recently launched a Grilled Chicken & Three Cheese Stuffed Quesadilla, proclaiming 4g of fat, 180 calories and 10g of protein, plus an ìexcellent source of calciumî claim, delivering 25% of the daily recommended amount.

Similarly, ConAgra Foods' recent launch of Healthy Choice Spicy Caribbean Chicken proclaims only 310 calories on the front of the package, while also noting 30g of whole grains and 15g of protein there. The company elsewhere notes the whole-grain content is 15% of the daily recommended intake of grains. In fact, on the back of the package, the company breaks down the item's nutrient content by utilizing the MyPyramid guidelines: 20% of daily vegetables, 10% of daily fruit requirements and 20% of daily meat needs.

Considering IFIC's survey finds 62% of Americans regard the food label as the source to guide their food, nutrition and food safety practices, posting such details are in the best interest of weight control and any healthy-positioned food product. That said, incorporating MyPyramid may not be essential. IFIC finds MyPyramid is familiar to barely more than half of Americans: 9% ìknow a lot about it,î and 42% ìknow a fair amount about it,'but 35% ìknow very little about it,' and 15% have never heard of