Americans miss out on fibre, claims new report
Fibre is noticeably absent from the typical American diet, according to new Mintel Research.
One in three respondents to a recent survey consider their diet to be healthy, but only one in five report actively looking for and buying products with added health claims. Based on these results, only a minority of adults are likely to be interested in fibre-enhanced products with digestive claims, say researchers.
While 30% of consumers say they make it a point to eat naturally fibre-rich foods, studies show most Americans are failing to meet their recommended daily fibre intake. This may be explained by the 27% of respondents who think food with added fibre usually has an unpleasant taste.
“Many people have negative perceptions about the taste of fibre,” says Molly Heyl-Rushmer, senior health and wellness analyst at Mintel. “The taste deters them from eating a fibre-added product that has numerous health benefits.”
Twenty-five per cent of respondents think fibre is only necessary for those who suffer from irregularity or other digestive problems, with men being more likely than women to hold this belief. Thirty per cent of men (compared to 23% of women) also believe supplements are just as effective as fibre-enriched foods.
Despite the fact research shows a lack of fibre is linked to various cancers, heart disease and diabetes, 22% of consumers don’t know enough about fibre to know if it is important to their health, says Mintel. Furthermore, 37% believe they can get enough fibre from regular foods, so supplements and food with added fibre are unnecessary.
“Consumers are more likely to report limiting sugar, fat, sodium, and calorie intake than they are to eat naturally fibre-rich foods,” said Heyl-Rushmer. “Adults don’t fully understand the link between fibre and health.”
“The way men view fibre is a considerable obstacle for marketers to overcome,” added Heyl-Rushmer. She believes using macho spokesmen in commercial advertising to gently poke fun at these false beliefs, and convince men they’re incorrect could be a successful marketing tool.
Heyl-Rushmer further advises marketers to implement money-back guarantees and educational initiatives to dispel negative perceptions, as well as inform the consumer about fibre’s importance in their diet.
July 2010 Issue