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Attitudes Toward Sodium and High Fructose Corn Syrup Reduction - US - August 2010

Recent research indicates that the majority of American adults are watching their diet. The health and wellness trend is driven by a variety of factors including an aging population and analysis suggests that as the economy improves, Americans are likely to gravitate more toward better-for-you (BFY) options such as those low in sodium and calories.

At the same time, manufacturers and restaurant chains are looking for ways to develop premium products that have high appeal among affluents and are positioned to command price premiums. For this reason— and because the government is taking steps to reduce obesity and improve nutrition— consumer attitudes toward high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and sodium are becoming increasingly important to product developers, marketers and consumer packaged goods (CPG) executives. As such, Mintel has developed this report to address the following questions:

  • What health risks are associated with sodium and HFCS?
  • What government initiatives have been created to address these concerns and regulate consumption of sodium and HFCS?
  • How are demographic and economic trends impacting demand for low sodium foods and beverages, as well as those that are free of HFCS?
  • What types of low sodium and HFCS-free products have been introduced in recent years?
  • Are companies increasingly launching low sodium and HFCS-free products, or are the number of new launches in these sub-categories on the decline?
  • How much do American consumers regulate and limit their intake of sodium and HFCS compared to calories, sugar, fat content, preservatives, caffeine and carbohydrates?
  • How often do consumers use salt alternatives and low sodium products and how much interest is there for using more such products in the future?
  • What proportion of the population avoids HFCS and what segments are most likely to engage in avoidance behavior?

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Data sources
          • Consumer survey data
            • Advertising creative
              • Abbreviations and terms
                • Abbreviations
                  • Terms
                  • Executive Summary

                      • Most consumers use too much sodium
                        • Companies increasingly participating in sodium reduction initiatives
                          • Americans are increasingly avoiding HFCS
                            • Most think some HFCS is okay in moderation but avoid products that list it is a primary ingredient
                              • More than half limit their use of packaged foods due to concerns about excessive sodium
                                • Consumers regulate fat and calories more so than salt and HFCS
                                  • Influence of key ingredients when shopping for beverages
                                    • More emphasis on health and wellness at home than at restaurants
                                      • Interest in salt alternatives and reductions significant but limited due to taste concerns
                                        • Interest in HFCS alternatives and reductions is growing
                                          • Most believe both manufacturers and the government are responsible for ingredient disclosures
                                            • Race and Hispanic origin
                                            • Insights and Opportunities

                                              • Big opportunities exist for designer salt and salt replacements
                                                • Mock Salt
                                                  • PepsiCo “Designer Salt”
                                                    • Maximize appeal of dieting products by eliminating HFCS and offering FOP labels
                                                    • Inspire Insights

                                                        • Trend: A Simple Balance for Health
                                                          • What it’s about
                                                            • Making it official
                                                              • For the people, by the people
                                                              • Sodium Stats and Facts

                                                                • Key points
                                                                  • Excessive sodium intake linked to hypertension, heart disease and stroke
                                                                    • Most Americans consume far more salt that what is recommended by the CDC and physicians
                                                                      • Most sodium in the average diet comes from processed foods
                                                                      • Sodium Reduction Initiatives

                                                                        • Key points
                                                                          • Reducing sodium consumption could have major public health benefits
                                                                            • Processed foods pose challenges to sodium reduction initiatives
                                                                              • The NSRI aims to reduce salt intake in the U.S. 20% by 2014
                                                                                • The IOM proposes federal regulation of sodium content in the food supply
                                                                                • Understanding High Fructose Corn Syrup

                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                    • The making of HFCS
                                                                                      • Use of HFCS has generally increased since the 1980s
                                                                                        • HFCS and the obesity epidemic
                                                                                          • Evidence of HFCS’s role in obesity is growing but remains thin
                                                                                          • Reducing/Eliminating HFCS

                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                              • Soda tax meets resistance; most states abandon proposals
                                                                                                • Zero-calorie HFCS/sugar alternatives are increasingly being sought
                                                                                                  • Figure 1: Household use of sugar substitutes and granulated sugar, 2003-09
                                                                                                • Young adults and low-income users tend to consume more than average
                                                                                                  • Figure 2: Average daily use of sugar substitutes, by age, November 2008-December 2009
                                                                                                  • Figure 3: Average daily use of sugar substitutes, by household income, November 2008-December 2009
                                                                                                • Splenda especially popular with affluents
                                                                                                  • Figure 4: Use of branded and private label sugar substitutes, by household income, November 2008-December 2009
                                                                                                • Amid consumer concern about HFCS, some are switching back to sugar
                                                                                                • Resistance to HFCS Reduction

                                                                                                    • Overview of the CRA
                                                                                                      • Figure 5: Brand analysis of the CRA, 2010
                                                                                                    • CRA TV commercials
                                                                                                      • Figure 6: CRA television ad—birthday party, 2008
                                                                                                      • Figure 7: CRA television ad—popsicle in the park, 2008
                                                                                                      • Figure 8: CRA television ad—boys in the kitchen, 2008
                                                                                                  • Market Drivers

                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                      • Most Americans are currently “watching” their diet
                                                                                                        • Figure 9: Incidence of presently watching/controlling diet, May 2004-June 2009
                                                                                                      • Weight, blood sugar and heart primary drivers of watching diet
                                                                                                        • Figure 10: Reasons for watching/controlling diet, 2006 and 2009
                                                                                                      • High fiber, low sodium and low calorie foods popular with dieters
                                                                                                        • Figure 11: Attributes diet-watchers look for in food, 2006 and 2009
                                                                                                      • Aging population will drive demand for low sodium and low calorie products
                                                                                                        • Figure 12: Population by age, 2005-15
                                                                                                      • Prevalence of obesity remains at very high levels
                                                                                                        • Figure 13: Percentage of population aged 20+ who are overweight or obese or extremely obese, 1988-2008
                                                                                                      • Incidence of obesity particularly high in Southeastern region
                                                                                                        • Figure 14: States with highest rate of adult obesity in the U.S., 2007-09 combined
                                                                                                      • Childhood obesity continues to be serious concern, at White House and elsewhere
                                                                                                        • Figure 15: Prevalence of obesity among children and adolescents, 2-19 years of age, 1976-2008
                                                                                                      • High unemployment and low consumer confidence drive resistance to premiums and demand for inexpensive options
                                                                                                        • Figure 16: U.S. unemployment rate, January 2007-June 2010
                                                                                                      • Consumer confidence remains low, but on the upswing
                                                                                                        • Figure 17: Consumer Sentiment, January 2007-June 2010
                                                                                                    • Innovation and Innovators

                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                        • Low/no/reduced sodium launches on the rise
                                                                                                          • Figure 18: Products launched with low/no/reduced sodium, 2004-10
                                                                                                        • Snacks
                                                                                                          • Numbers of products with HFCS declining steadily
                                                                                                            • Figure 19: Products launched with HFCS, 2004-10
                                                                                                          • HFCS-free foods and beverages
                                                                                                            • Snacks
                                                                                                              • Breads
                                                                                                                • Beverages
                                                                                                                  • Condiments
                                                                                                                  • Key HFCS Attitudes

                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                      • College graduates more likely to avoid HFCS
                                                                                                                        • Figure 20: HFCS attitudes, by education, May 2010
                                                                                                                      • Demand for HFCS-free products higher among affluents
                                                                                                                        • Figure 21: HFCS attitudes, by household income, May 2010
                                                                                                                    • Key Sodium Attitudes

                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                        • Most limit packaged food consumption due to sodium concerns
                                                                                                                            • Figure 22: Key Sodium attitudes, by age, May 2010
                                                                                                                          • Opportunities exist for premium low-sodium and alternatively-salted products
                                                                                                                            • Figure 23: Key Sodium attitudes, by household income, May 2010
                                                                                                                        • Influence of Key Ingredients When Shopping for Food

                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                            • Fat, calories and sugar often more of a concern than sodium and HFCS
                                                                                                                                • Figure 24: Frequency of seeking health-related information when shopping for food, May 2010
                                                                                                                              • Sweetener and calorie avoidance highest among 55+ and affluents
                                                                                                                                • Figure 25: Frequency of seeking sweetener and calorie information when shopping for food, by age, May 2010
                                                                                                                                • Figure 26: Frequency of seeking sweetener and calorie information when shopping for food, by household income, May 2010
                                                                                                                              • Salt avoidance patterns consistent with HFCS
                                                                                                                                • Figure 27: Frequency of seeking sodium information when shopping for food, by age, May 2010
                                                                                                                                • Figure 28: Frequency of seeking sodium information when shopping for food, by household income, May 2010
                                                                                                                            • Influence of Key Ingredients When Shopping for Beverages

                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                • More than four in 10 always or usually avoid HFCS when shopping for beverages
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 29: Frequency of seeking health-related information when shopping for beverages, May 2010
                                                                                                                                • Sweetener and calories influence most beverage decisions
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 30: Frequency of seeking sweetener and calorie information when shopping for beverages, by age, May 2010
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 31: Frequency of seeking sweetener and calorie information when shopping for beverages, by household income, May 2010
                                                                                                                                • Salt avoidance less common when beverage shopping
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 32: Frequency of seeking sodium information when shopping for beverages, by age, May 2010
                                                                                                                              • Ingredient Avoidance When Eating at Home

                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                  • Consumers more likely to curb select ingredient usage when eating at home
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 33: Frequency of limiting sweeteners and calories when eating at home, by age, May 2010
                                                                                                                                  • More than half limit sodium when eating at home
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 34: Frequency of limiting sodium when eating at home, by age, May 2010
                                                                                                                                  • Fat limitation consistent with sweetener and sodium avoidance
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 35: Frequency of limiting fat content when eating at home, by age, May 2010
                                                                                                                                  • Many affluents are avoiding processed foods
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 36: Frequency of limiting processed foods, carbs, preservatives and caffeine when eating at home, by household income, May 2010
                                                                                                                                • Ingredient Avoidance When Eating at Restaurants

                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                    • Ingredient scrutiny less common in restaurants
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 37: Incidence of limiting sweetener and calories when eating at a restaurant, by age, May 2010
                                                                                                                                    • Most engage in some sodium avoidance when eating out
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 38: Frequency of avoiding sodium when eating at a restaurant, by age May 2010
                                                                                                                                    • Incidence of fat avoidance on par with sodium and HFCS
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 39: Frequency of avoiding fat when eating at a restaurant, by household income, May 2010
                                                                                                                                    • Most limit carbs, preservatives and caffeine at least sometimes when dining out
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 40: Frequency of avoiding carbohydrates, preservatives and caffeine, by household income, May 2010
                                                                                                                                  • Interest in Salt Alternatives and Reductions

                                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                                      • Less than half report using non-sodium salt alternatives
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 41: Use of and interest in salt alternatives, by age, May 2010
                                                                                                                                      • Quality salt alternatives could command significant price premiums
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 42: Use of and interest in salt alternatives, by household income, May 2010
                                                                                                                                    • Interest in HFCS Alternatives and Reductions

                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                        • Pure cane sugar among most popular sweeteners
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 43: Use of and interest in sugar substitutes and cane sugar, by household income, May 2010
                                                                                                                                      • Who’s Responsible for Disclosure and Setting Limits?

                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                          • Government and manufacturers most responsible for disclosures
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 44: Parties responsible for salt and HFCS disclosure, by age, May 2010
                                                                                                                                          • However, less than half see responsibility extending to limit setting
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 45: Parties responsible for limiting salt and HFCS, by age, May 2010
                                                                                                                                        • Race and Hispanic Origin

                                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                                            • Minorities monitor sweetener intake when eating at restaurants
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 46: Incidence of monitoring and limiting sweeteners when eating at restaurants, by race and Hispanic origin, May 2010
                                                                                                                                            • Blacks often monitor sodium due to heart health concerns
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 47: Incidence of monitoring and limiting salt when eating at restaurants, by race and Hispanic origin, May 2010
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 48: Frequency of monitoring salt intake when preparing food at home, by race and Hispanic origin, May 2010
                                                                                                                                            • Demand for salt alternatives high among blacks
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 49: Demand for low sodium foods and salt alternatives, by race and Hispanic origin, May 2010
                                                                                                                                          • Cluster Analysis

                                                                                                                                              • Care-free Consumers (32%)
                                                                                                                                                • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                  • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                    • Curious, Sometime-limiters (36%)
                                                                                                                                                      • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                        • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                          • Active Avoiders (32%)
                                                                                                                                                            • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                              • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                • Characteristic tables
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 50: Food and beverage shopper clusters, May 2010
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 51: Frequency of seeking health-related information when shopping for food, by food and beverage shopper clusters, May 2010
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 52: Frequency of seeking health-related information when shopping for beverages, by food and beverage shopper clusters, May 2010
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 53: Frequency of limiting certain ingredients when eating at home, by food and beverage shopper clusters, May 2010
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 54: Incidence of limiting certain ingredients when eating at a restaurant, by food and beverage shopper clusters, May 2010
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 55: Use of and interest in salt alternatives, food and beverage shopper clusters, May 2010
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 56: Use of and interest in sugar substitutes and cane sugar, by food and beverage shopper clusters, May 2010
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 57: Attitudes toward sodium/salt, by food and beverage shopper clusters, May 2010
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 58: Attitudes towards HFCS, by food and beverage shopper clusters, May 2010
                                                                                                                                                                • Demographic tables
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 59: Food and beverage shopper clusters, by gender, May 2010
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 60: Food and beverage shopper clusters, by age, May 2010
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 61: Food and beverage shopper clusters, by household income, May 2010
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 62: Food and beverage shopper clusters, by race/Hispanic origin, May 2010
                                                                                                                                                                • Cluster methodology
                                                                                                                                                                • Custom Consumer Groups

                                                                                                                                                                  • Affluent Hispanics among groups most likely to avoid HFCS when shopping for beverages
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 63: Influence of sweeteners on food choices, by custom consumer group, May 2010
                                                                                                                                                                    • Urban dwellers more likely to avoid foods with HFCS
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 64: Influence of sweeteners on food choices, by population density, May 2010
                                                                                                                                                                      • Demand for sweetener combinations high among fathers, affluents and young blacks
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 65: Demand for products sweetened with a combination of sweeteners, by custom consumer group, May 2010
                                                                                                                                                                        • African Americans and mature women most likely to monitor salt at restaurants
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 66: Frequency of monitoring salt intake when eating at restaurants, by custom consumer group, May 2010
                                                                                                                                                                        • Appendix: Other Useful Consumer Tables

                                                                                                                                                                            • Age
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 67: Attitudes towards HFCS, by age, May 2010
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 68: Frequency of seeking fat-related when shopping for food, by age, May 2010
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 69: Frequency of seeking carb, preservative and caffeine information when shopping for food, by age, May 2010
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 70: Frequency of seeking fat-related information when shopping for beverages, by age, May 2010
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 71: Frequency of seeking health-related information when shopping for beverages, by age, May 2010
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 72: Frequency of limiting processed foods, carbs, preservatives and caffeine when eating at home, by age, May 2010
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 73: Frequency of avoiding carbohydrates, preservatives and caffeine, by age, May 2010
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 74: Frequency of avoiding fat when eating at a restaurant, by age, May 2010
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 75: Use of and interest in sugar substitutes and cane sugar, by age, May 2010
                                                                                                                                                                            • Household income
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 76: Frequency of seeking fat-related when shopping for food, by household income, May 2010
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 77: Frequency of seeking carb, preservative and caffeine information when shopping for food, by household income, May 2010
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 78: Frequency of seeking sodium information when shopping for beverages, by household income, May 2010
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 79: Frequency of seeking fat-related information when shopping for beverages, by household income, May 2010
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 80: Frequency of seeking health-related information when shopping for beverages, May 2010
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 81: Frequency of limiting sweeteners and calories when eating at home, by household income, May 2010
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 82: Frequency of seeking limiting fats when eating at home, by household income, May 2010
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 83: Frequency of avoiding sodium when eating at a restaurant, by household income, May 2010
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 84: Frequency of limiting sweetener and calories when eating at a restaurant, by household income, May 2010
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 85: Parties responsible for salt and HFCS disclosure, by household income, May 2010
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 86: Parties responsible for limiting salt and HFCS, by household income, May 2010
                                                                                                                                                                          • Appendix: Agencies, Partnerships and Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                                                            Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                            • American Medical Association (AMA)
                                                                                                                                                                            • Coca-Cola Company (The) (USA)
                                                                                                                                                                            • Corn Refiners Association, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                            • Facebook, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                            • Food and Drug Administration
                                                                                                                                                                            • HJ Heinz Company
                                                                                                                                                                            • Institute of Medicine
                                                                                                                                                                            • Kraft Foods Inc. (U.S.A.)
                                                                                                                                                                            • LiDestri Foods, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                            • Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc
                                                                                                                                                                            • PepsiCo Inc
                                                                                                                                                                            • Safeway Inc
                                                                                                                                                                            • Starbucks Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                            • The Hain Celestial Group, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                            • Trader Joe's Company Inc
                                                                                                                                                                            • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
                                                                                                                                                                            • U.S. Department of Agriculture
                                                                                                                                                                            • Unilever USA
                                                                                                                                                                            • Walmart Stores (USA)
                                                                                                                                                                            • Whole Foods Market Inc
                                                                                                                                                                            • YouTube, Inc.

                                                                                                                                                                            Attitudes Toward Sodium and High Fructose Corn Syrup Reduction - US - August 2010

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