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August 22, 2012

Marketing Challenge: New Study Reveals Consumers' Perceptions About Specific "Health Foods" — Research from iModerate Research Technologies Identifies Barriers to Purchasing Fortified and Functional Foods

(Business Wire): A new study from iModerate Research Technologies, a qualitative research firm, focuses on healthy eating by investigating consumers' perceptions about two specific food groups: functional foods that contain natural health benefits such as the antioxidants found in blueberries, and fortified foods such as pastas that are enriched with calcium and vitamins.

iModerate's qualitative research was conducted with both males and females from across the United States. The research found that while people have a strong desire to eat healthy, most aren't exactly sure what healthy eating entails, and how they can make it practical for them. Currently, there is a lack of information as it relates to what types of foods are healthy and what specific health benefits these foods provide — creating a challenge for consumers. Aside from a lack of information and prominent marketing by functional food producers and purveyors, the study found definitive barriers that prevent consumers from purchasing fortified and functional foods. Concerns about taste, cost, spoilage, convenience and preparation are the major hurdles when it comes to purchasing and consuming functional foods. When it comes to fortified foods, consumers' apprehension stems from the fortification process itself, believability as to the product's health claim, the possible overconsumption of nutrients, and long-term health implications.

"People generally want to eat healthy and do what's best for them and their family," said Adam Rossow, VP of Marketing at iModerate. "However, while consumers know some of the basics and what to stay away from, there is a tremendous lack of practical information and education that would help break down the barriers for them, inspire purchases and create a loyal following."

From the research, iModerate found there to be significant areas of opportunity for manufacturers, growers and retailers. These opportunities revolve around taking the guesswork out of healthy eating, messaging health benefits more effectively, and improving labels and signage.

The full report, How do functional and fortified foods fit with healthy eating?, includes additional findings, and is available as a free download from iModerate. The study, comprised of online, one-on-one conversations, was conducted with 81 respondents from the Northeast, Midwest, South and West and included both males and females ages 18+.

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