WASHINGTON, Oct. 2, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Providing consumers lower-calorie foods is good for business and public health, according to a new research report from Hudson Institute, an independent policy research organization. The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF) asked Hudson Institute to analyze sales data from the 16 major food and beverage companies it counts among its members to determine both trends in sales and product availability.
Hank Cardello, senior fellow & director of Hudson Institute’s Obesity Solutions Initiative and author of Stuffed: An Insider’s Look at Who’s (Really) Making America Fat, said the research reveals that over a period of five years endingDecember 31, 2012, 16 Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation companies increased their sales of lower-calorie products, made those items more available in grocery stores and retail outlets, and promoted them more in-store.
“While there is still much work to be done in addressing the nation’s obesity epidemic, this study reveals that consumer preferences are changing, and answering the demand for lower calorie products is both good for business and America’s waistline,” said Cardello.
Cardello’s study, “Lower-Calorie Foods and Beverages Fuel Growth at Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation Companies,” released at a National Press Clubbriefing, was designed to determine quantitatively whether HWCF companies were making progress in selling more lower-calorie foods and beverages in concert with their pledge to Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) an initiative to eliminate 1.5 trillion calories from the food supply.
According to the study, 99 percent of the almost $1/2 billion sales growth came from lower-calorie foods, while only 1 percent of sales growth came from higher-calorie foods. On the supply side, there was a 96 percent increase in the availability of lower-calorie products.
“The HWCF efforts have improved the quality of food purchased in America simultaneously with reducing calories. The fact that their efforts are supported by the market will inspire food service and additional food companies to join this effort along with those focused on promoting higher levels of physical activity,” said Derek Yach, executive director of health research firm Vitality Institute.
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