Tags: nutrition | kimberly | reed | health

Bad Economy Pushing Americans to Buy Cheaper Food

By Jim Meyers and Kathleen Walter   |   Monday, 08 Aug 2011 03:30 PM

Kimberly Reed, executive director of the International Food Information Council Foundation, tells Newsmax that price rather than taste is increasingly becoming a major factor Americans consider when they shop for food.

Reed’s foundation is a Washington-based organization that provides information on food safety, healthy eating, and nutrition.

In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, Reed explained the origins and goals of her group.

“Twenty years ago, we recognized that there was a need for a science-based organization to help consumers, health professionals, and journalists get the facts about food and understand important topics ranging from obesity and energy balance to the latest food safety disaster.

“Over the past 20 years, we have been dedicated to educating everyone, and now because of the Internet you can go directly to our website and learn great tips for your family.

“There’s a lot or discussion now with families and in the news about processed food and understanding where our food comes from. So we have an initiative called Understanding Our Food, and if you go there you’ll find some helpful facts on the role of processed foods, how they fit into our lives, their nutritional value, their history. When consumers read these, they are enlightened.”

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Reed discussed the surprising results of a recent food and health survey her organization conducted.

“When consumers think about food, when you’re in a store shopping, what do you think about most when making purchasing decisions? Always in this annual food and health survey, taste has been the number one priority for people. But over the past five years, we’re seeing a 15 percent spike in price finally coming up to taste as important for consumers when they are thinking about what is important for them.

“That’s really interesting, especially given the hard economic times. People are really focused on that price tag as well.”

Asked for her message on the growing obesity problem in America, Reed responds: “The key message is energy balance. Calories in, calories out.
“Our waistlines are continuing to grow in this country. But our food and health survey shows that only 9 percent of Americans can accurately estimate how many calories they consume in a day, and over half of Americans don’t know how much they should be burning in a day.”

Reed says a government website, choosemyplate.gov, can help visitors determine on an individual basis the number of calories they should be consuming.

She also tells Newsmax that families are extremely important in teaching young people about healthy eating, and a feature on her organization’s website called kidnetic provides lots of information on improving the nutrition of young people and entire families.

Her foundation’s website is www.foodinsight.org.

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