Food shoppers in the US are increasingly looking to quality standards, seals and symbols to help them with their food choices, according to a survey commissioned by food company ConAgra Foods.

ConAgra’s ‘What’s in Store’ survey showed that 95% of American shoppers say they would consider quality symbols, seals and trust marks when food shopping. Moreover, the trend is on the increase with four times as many survey respondents saying they are more likely to consider buying foods based on trust marks today than they were a year ago.

“Consumers are telling us they’re looking for food choices that are more nutritious, along with great-tasting and convenient, but they want help in identifying what’s good for them,” said Debbie Carosella, vice president, strategic marketing at ConAgra Foods Consumer Foods. Among the trust marks that people look for are Whole Grains, Heart-Healthy, Zero Grams Trans Fat, Low Sodium, Organic and Kosher.
The increased attention consumers are paying to quality seals follows the release last year of the new US Dietary Guidelines and MyPyramid food guide, which outlines a more personalised approach to healthy eating.

The survey indicated that the individual standards are gaining considerable currency among consumers looking for good-for-you foods. While only 30% of shoppers said they would consider the Dietary Guidelines when shopping for healthier foods, almost 54% said they’d look for an indication that the food was ‘whole grain’, one of the top Dietary Guideline recommendations.

ConAgra said the survey reflected consumer recognition of other key facets of the Guidelines, such as heart health (50%), reducing or eliminating trans fat (43%) and minimising sodium (40%). The survey also suggested that consumers were increasingly seeking marks to identify certified organic and kosher products.