Progressive Grocer

FEB 2017

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22 | Progressive Grocer | Ahead of What's Next | February 2017 M any health-minded shop- pers today have strong preferences about what they look for in cereals and other foods. Interestingly, what's not in a food seems more important than what is in it, according to the International Food Information Council Foundation's (IFIC) 2016 Food and Health Survey. When respondents were asked how they define a healthy food, the top answer, at 35 percent, was "Does not contain (or has low lev- els of ) certain components" such as fat, sugar, calories, carbohydrates and cholesterol, while only half as many respondents (17 percent) said that a healthy food contains certain components such as vitamins, minerals and protein. ese preferences are showing up big time in the cereal aisle, leading to a flood of new products and reformulations of existing products. When faced with so many options, how can shoppers make the best choices for their health? Getting back to basics by focusing on a few key nutrients and ingredients can help. Whole Grains and Fiber Most Americans fall woefully short on con- suming recommended amounts of both whole grains and fiber, but shoppers can get the best of both worlds by choosing cereals with both. Eating a 100 percent whole grain or predominantly whole grain cereal is an easy way to jump-start intake. Shoppers should look for the Whole Grain Council's Whole Grain Stamp, which gives the number of grams of whole grain in a serving (many people need 48 grams daily, or three 1-ounce servings). For packages without the stamp, consumers should look for the grams of whole grain listed elsewhere on the package, or pick a cereal with a whole grain appearing first on the ingredient list. For fiber, an easy shortcut for shoppers is to check the package for the FDA-approved claims "good source of All's By Diane Quagliani When faced with so many options, how can shoppers make the best choices for their health? Focusing on a few key nutrients and ingredients can help. fiber" (3 grams per serving or more) or "excel- lent source of fiber" (5 grams per serving or more), or consult the Nutrition Facts panel for the grams per serving. Added Sugars Many consumers are concerned about sugar intake, which has prompted cereal makers to cut the added sugars in their products. As of now, it's tough to know how much added sug- ars a cereal contains, because the information isn't required on the Nutrition Facts panel. at will change by July 2018, however, when an updated panel goes into effect on most products. Shoppers will then see the grams of added sugars per serving and a percent daily value showing how much that amount contributes to a 2,000-calorie diet. Until that time, shop- pers can compare cereals by checking the Nutrition Facts panel for the grams of sugars per serving and choos- ing one with a lower number. ey should keep in mind, how- ever, that "sugars" includes both naturally occurring sugars from fruit ingredients and added sugars. Protein Protein is a sought-after nutrient, thanks to its ties to an increased feeling of fullness and the popularity of low-carb diets. While grains naturally contain some protein, some cereal makers are bumping up amounts with protein-containing ingredients like quinoa, nuts, seeds or soy. If protein's their goal, consumers should choose cereals with at least 5 grams per serving — adding milk or yogurt significantly increases protein, too. PG Diane Quagliani, MBA, RDN, LDN, specializes in nutrition communications for consumer and health professional audiences. She has assisted national retailers and CPGs with nutrition strategy, web content development, trade show exhibiting, and the creation and implementation of shelf tag programs. Seeking Good Health in the Cereal Aisle Let the basics be your guide.

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