Majority of American Consumers Confused by Nutrition Labels, Says Study from Spoon Guru

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Findings from new research published on June 18 reveal that 72% of Americans do not understand the recommended levels of salt, fat and sugar consumption. The statewide health survey by Spoon Guru, which promotes itself as a world leader in AI technology designed to transform food discovery, revealed just 28% of shoppers think they can confidently decipher the value of nutrients in food, with an opportunity for retailers to offer new tools to give better transparency.

The study, which looked into consumer spending habits and motivations for purchasing decisions, highlighted that 54% of US shoppers want retailers to do more to encourage healthy eating. The survey found a quarter of Americans believe retailers should offer tools in order to identify the right foods to improve health and dietary requirements.

This is following 40% of Americans revealing they are afraid of developing a serious illness and 19% fear an early death due to an unhealthy diet. As a result, 74% of those surveyed stated they have tried to improve their health and well being over the past year – however the study suggests they are failing with a staggering 88% revealing their diet is still unhealthy. In line with these findings, 68% of respondents revealed they eat five or more processed meals a week, despite half of Americans claiming they have been eating less processed food over the past year. The conflicting results suggest shoppers may be attempting to eat healthier but are unaware processed foods include cereals, pasta, cheese, etc.

Further to this, those who stated they were eating less sugar (55%), the research found that almost a third of US consumers (29%) are using honey as an alternative, and 10% are using maple syrup, suggesting consumers are lacking the knowledge that these products contain a high level of sugar. Additionally, two in five (42%) respondents admitted they add two or more spoonfuls of sugar to their daily hot drinks. Meanwhile, 32% of Americans are also only eating one piece of fruit a day, and 23% consume just one vegetable serving.

In a bid to prevent health related diseases by improving their diet, 59% revealed the cost of weekly grocery bills had increased; with most claiming to spend as much as $31 more each week. The cost associated with eating healthy foods proved to be the biggest barrier for 48% of those surveyed, with 67% of respondents claiming they would purchase healthier food if retailers lowered prices.

To encourage healthy eating, US consumers want  retailers to do the following:

  • Lower costs on healthy options – 67%
  • More promotions of healthy products – 44%
  • Healthy snacks by the checkout – 35%
  • Better in-store placement of healthy foods – 32%
  •  Suggestions on healthy food swaps – 26%

Among tools needed to encourage US shoppers to make healthier food choices are:


  • In-store food discovery taste tests – 46%
  • Healthy eating recipes in-store – 40%
  • Better food labels on packaging – 39%
  • Better food labels on shelves – 37%
  • Technology to aid food discovery – 25%

Markus Strips, co-founder and chief executive officer of Spoon Guru, commented: “Americans are trying to adopt a healthier diet, however, there is a need for further clarity around nutrition. In particular, how they can manage their fat, salt and sugar intake to prevent health related illnesses. What is also clear from the research is that a quarter of consumers are open to exploring technology that can assist with the everyday challenge to find the right foods in order to eat in a healthier manner.

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