Earlier this month, the federal government announced new dietary guidelines that urge Americans to cut back on added sugars, encourage more fruit and vegetable consumption, and suggest that men and teenage boys may, in fact, be eating too much protein. While these guidelines are not groundbreaking, they are significant for brands because they affect the foods chosen for school breakfast and lunch and other national food assistance programs. And, as consumers are increasingly becoming more educated about ingredients and provenance of their food, the new dietary recommendations are an opportunity for food retailers to remind consumers of their health and wellness offerings and commitment to supporting shoppers’ dietary efforts.
Sweet on Disclosure
On the average, research shows that Americans consume 22.2 teaspoons of sugar every day. The new guidelines suggest that Americans limit added sugars to 10% of daily calories, or about 12.5 teaspoons. Although that still may seem like a lot of sugar, it’s not easy to achieve considering that a half cup of pasta sauce and typical cereal bar contain an average of 8 grams of added sugar each. America’s reliance on packaged and processed foods makes it difficult for consumers to consciously lower their sugar intake to meet the recommended guidelines. Brands can stay ahead of the game by reducing amounts of added sugars, disclosing amounts of naturally occurring sugars, and highlighting those benefits on product packaging, advertising, and social media.
Offer Ideas for Increasing Nutrient Dense Foods
It’s no surprise that the guidelines recommend that Americans increase their consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Although we know they’re good for us, we’re still not eating enough. Researchers found that 87% of Americans don't meet recommendations for fruit consumption, and 91% don't meet recommendations for vegetable consumption. Why? Consumers perceive vegetables as being difficult to manage; they spoil quickly, require peeling and chopping, and, let’s face it, kids don’t gobble them up as eagerly as cookies or ice cream. To help consumers increase their intake, offer front-of-pack nutrient information, family-friendly recipes, and even fun videos, games, or social media contests that appeal to children and families and encourage healthy eating.
Less Meat and Saturated Fats
In an interesting twist, the report found that men and teen boys were consuming too much protein and recommended that they limit meat and poultry in favor of other nutrient dense foods. While the report didn’t put restrictions on meat consumption overall, they did suggest that Americans eat more fish and fewer saturated fats.
While most Americans are aware of governmental health recommendations, we collectively fall short of reaching our healthy eating goals. In a society where consumers are constantly on the run and seeking convenience, brands that offer healthier options for consumers will come out on top. Learn how your brand can craft a media strategy that can reach consumers who are committed to leading a healthier lifestyle by contacting Women’s Marketing today.
Sources: US Government Office Of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Dietary Guidelines 2016, Cleveland Clinic, 2013; July 10 CDC journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, July 2015