On the heels of the FDA's announcement about its new food plate recommendations, replacing the old Food Pyramid standard, people have functional foods as well as proportions top of mind. MyPlate, essentially an infographic nutritional guide with a fairly rich website to back it up, makes it easier for people to understand what their daily diet should look like and what to keep in mind while buying food.
No doubt, food manufacturers have made great strides in steering toward healthier ingredients and away from things like trans fats, sugar and sodium. Add to that the fact that more and more media, especially the health and food segments, are doing their part to keep shoppers educated, and you've got a pretty positive trend.
People are also becoming more pro-active; we found that approximately 60% of those surveyed had heard of the new MyPlate guidelines. Shoppers are delving beyond creative packaging on store shelves and taking a closer look at nutritional labels, and many of them know what they are looking for. People are more plugged in than ever when it comes to the food culprits present in our everyday foods. As our survey found, across the board, the food label is the most important factor in making purchases, with saturated fats, sodium and trans fats labeled as the biggest red flags.
And that applies to the whole family. Our research reveals the new MyPlate system will be adopted by adults when making food decisions for their families 6 out of 10 times. This confirms that the door is open now, more than ever, for food PR and marketing professionals to reach parents with healthy messages that make point-of-purchase decisions easier. MyPlate is a new visual, friendly tool that we, as brand marketers, can use to communicate healthful food messages to our target consumers.
Like a good relationship, it's incumbent upon the consumer and the brand to work hard and work together to grow the functional foods category. It's up to the consumer to do homework beforehand and read labels closely before making a purchase. In parallel, it's up to brands to eliminate the dietary culprits and commission more clinical studies to make their food truly "functional." It's up to us, as PR professionals and brand marketers, to facilitate the conversation between the two and keep the conversation moving towards positive results.
And that's something we could all drink to.