Functional Food Trends and Eggs

The Functional Food Trend: What’s Next And What Americans Think About Eggs

Linda C. Gilbert

HealthFocus, Inc. Des Moines, Iowa

Objective: The HealthFocus® National Study of Public Attitudes and Actions Toward Healthy Foods is conducted every two years to identify current issues in consumer health and nutrition behavior and attitudes, to assess the trends in consumer priorities and to develop an understanding of where consumers are headed in their behavior towards their health and diet. This paper focuses on consumer interests in functional nutrition for disease prevention and health enhancement. It examines the role consumers see for eggs in healthy diets.

Methods: The data for this study were collected from written questionnaires completed by 2,074 qualified respondents in August, September and October of 1998. The research was conducted in two stages: 1. A telephone pre-recruit from a national probability sample of households qualified respondents as Primary Grocery Shoppers (those who make most of the food buying decisions for their household or who equally share that responsibility). 2. A 12-page, self-administered questionnaire was mailed to qualified respondents. Respondents to this survey represent shoppers in the U.S. in all respects except race. Women account for 81% of the survey respondents, since they do most of the household shopping.

Results: Most shoppers believe foods can offer benefits that reach beyond basic nutrition to functional nutrition for disease prevention and health enhancement. As consumers better understand the functional benefits of eggs, from Prevention to Performance, Wellness, Nurturing and Cosmetics, eggs will continue to play an important role in healthy eating for many consumers.

Conclusions: Eggs are considered a healthy food by most consumers as long as they are eaten in moderation. Increased egg consumption is being driven by consumer interest in health benefits that reach beyond dietary avoidance strategies to positive nutrition strategies. Today’s self-reliant approach to health creates significant opportunities for health and nutrition marketers to use knowledge-based marketing programs to shape present and future health decisions and product choices among shoppers.

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