June 7/Washington/International Food Information Council -- Americans consider protein important in maintaining a balanced diet, but a recent study shows that a quarter of them find protein-packed food too expensive.

 The results of the “2012 Food & Health Survey: Consumer Attitudes Toward Food Safety, Nutrition & Health,” the seventh-annual national quantitative survey commissioned by the International Food Information Council Foundation, offered a glimpse into the mind of the average American consumer.

The result: 80% of consumers believe that protein plays a role in maintaining a healthy, balanced diet, but 25% find it too expensive to consume as often as desired.

Groups most likely to find protein expensive include consumers aged 18-34 and obese individuals. While lower income consumers were more likely swayed by protein’s price tag, higher income consumers were also impacted.

Some 90% of consumers elected poultry as their preferred protein. Other meaty protein options on consumers’ plates include fish (80%), beef (76%), pork (65%) and deli meat (44%). Dairy also played an important role for consumers, with cheese and cottage cheese (77%) the most popular of the dairy options.

 From the June 8, 2012, Prepared Foods’ Daily News