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Parade magazine has released its annual “What America Eats” survey, revealing some fascinating statistics, including:

  • Twenty-three percent of Americans pay no attention to nutritional facts and figures.

  • Just short of 60 percent of US residents are aware of but do not follow the USDA Food Pyramid.

  • Only 26 percent are aware that the Pyramid was revised in January.

  • About 84 percent say they try to eat a well-balanced diet but mostly fail; 42 percent eat a healthy mix of foods, “yet undermine their efforts by indulging in snacks and other pleasure foods as a reward.”

  • Eighty percent of Americans say it needs to be addressed by food companies, and 71 percent say it needs to be addressed by the government. Yet nearly half of parents say their own kids’ weight is just fine, and only 25 percent of adults are on diets to lose weight.

  • About 34 percent of Americans prefer to dine out or have their holiday meals catered in rather than prepare a big feast.

  • Roughly 78 percent of Americans prefer pizza as top take-out choice.

  • Eliminating an entire food group, such as cutting carbs or fats, is considered unhealthy by a majority of Americans (76 percent).

  • Forty-four percent of Americans brown-bag it for lunch.

  • Women in the US still do the bulk of the cooking, with 63 percent saying they do “everything” to prepare meals during the week.

  • Many more women than men are on diets (32.9 percent vs. 16.4 percent). Women would like to lose an average of 49.6 pounds; men, an average of 37 pounds.

  • About 45 percent of households prepare different dinners on the same night at least once a week or more.

  • About 21 percent eat cereal for dinner 2+ times per week.

  • And 36 percent eat fast food, quick serve or casual dining meals because there isn’t enough time to prepare dinner every night of the week.

KC's View:
These are fascinating numbers because they create a partial picture of the American consumer – and it certainly runs a little contrary to the image of a customer that is increasingly concerned about health and nutrition. In some ways, they are a little delusional…”traditional”…and focus more on speed than quality.