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FIGURE 2-3 Shoppers who are concerned about the nutritional content of foods they eat.

FIGURE 2-3 Shoppers who are concerned about the nutritional content of foods they eat.

SOURCE: Food Marketing Institute, 2004. Reprinted with permission.

respondents reported a 6 percentage point increase in concern with sugar and a 5 percentage point increase in concern with calories during this period (Food Marketing Institute, 2004). FDA’s 2005 Health and Diet Survey (FDA/ODPHP, 2008) also found that sodium did not rank high in comparison to other dietary concerns. Results showed that more Americans were trying to limit their intake of sugar, saturated fat, cholesterol, and trans fat than were trying to reduce their sodium intake. Thus, the level of concern about sodium was not sustained over time and never achieved the level observed for fat.

To evaluate whether consumers who indicated using or not using label information differed in their sodium intake, Variyam (2008) assumed that sodium content information from Nutrition Facts panels would be available for foods consumed at home but not for foods consumed away from home. Individuals were classified from USDA’s 1994–1996 Diet and Health Knowledge Survey as label users or non-users based on their response to the question of whether they use the panel’s information on nutrient content when buying foods. The results suggested that users and non-users of the Nutrition Facts panel did not differ in sodium intake for food consumed at home; their sodium intake was also similar for food consumed away from home. However, Variyam (2008) did find that label use was associated with a modest but beneficial impact on intake of several other nutrients (i.e., higher fiber and iron intake) but not on intake of total and saturated fat or cholesterol.

Consumers’ Use of Salt at the Table and in Food Preparation

Data published in 1991 suggested that salt added at the table and during cooking contributed only about 6 percent and 5 percent, respectively,

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