Food News Today transcripts for September 14th, 2011

September 16, 2011

Are consumers making healthier purchases? Fooducate a new free app to help decode nutrition and since when is global warming not a top concern? For September 14th 2011, this is Food News Today.

Good Morning, today's broadcast is prerecorded. Please feel free to email me any thoughts, comments or questions you may have - Phil@ Also, don't forget to download our Smarter Shopping app, it's free!  There's also a new feature under our video section - Our guide to using this app. Food News Today is sponsored by ConAgra Foods, who shares with me the desire to provide the most current, interesting and unbiased food news.


In Consumer Trends ..... You think celebrity backed products will be great right? Taste great, or produces great results or even make you look like one of the celebs… well not so fast- a new report from Consumer Reports found that many celeb backed food products are less than great.  The report ranked 26 food products from television chefs and other celebrities and found half to be "average," despite their higher cost. The worst? Emeril Lagasse’s marinara sauce as well as Newman’s Own which ??? tomato puree ?nd powdered ?r dried garlic. 


The SupermarketGuru Consumer Panel weighs in on Healthy Food Purchases. There is no question that healthy eating is on the top of mind for many Americans, but just because were thinking about it doesn’t mean were actually going to do anything about it.  To find out how consumers are changing their habits, if at all, The Lempert Report surveyed the SupermarketGuru consumer panel- to our surprise consumers report making a lot of healthy changes… even for special occasions. When asked how often their grocery basket included healthful choices 87% said always, while a mere 14 percent said sometimes.  71 percent of consumers said that over 75 percent of their basket contains healthful choices, while 18 percent said that about half of their basket contains healthy choices.  What a difference a year makes - 59 percent of the consumer panel reported choosing more healthful choices as compared to a year ago - And here are the reasons: 37 percent say they are trying to lose weight, 36 percent have recently learned more about nutrition, while 19 percent are trying to maintain weight and 15 percent say its Dr's orders. And while the majority, 58 percent, believe their supermarket is helping in the healthy eating effort, 42 percent believe their supermarket could do more.

>Is it a story about technology? Health & Wellness? or Xtreme Retail? Well, you decide. It's a new app called Fooducate.  Earlier this week I interviewed Hemi Weingarten. A successful entrepreneur and engineer, a father and a blogger who was confused about what’s available in the market- with so many products, so many health claims, nutrients, and ingredients and so many promises by manufacturers Hemi decided to figure it out for himself – and Fooducate was “born” – here’s what he had to say…

Thanks Hemi.  According to Ovum, app downloads will surpass 18 billion by the end of this year, an increase of 144% from the 7.4 billion in downloads worldwide just a year ago. The growth path is on track to surpass 45 billion in 2016. 

>What is going on with our weather? Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes (even in New York City) it's our lead story today in Sustainability.  About a month ago the Environmental Working Group came out with the Meat Eaters Guide to Climate Change + Health, a report that found many surprising facts about meat consumption and its affects on both health and the environment. Most notably, if you skipped a steak dinner once a week with your four person family it would have the equivalent effect as taking your car off the road for 3 months!  

Despite these findings and more, it appears that consumers are still not convinced that global warming should be a top priority, same for some weathercasters,  and fewer than one third who believe that climate change was “caused mostly by human activities.”  Get this - More than a quarter of the weathercasters in a national survey George Mason University and the University of Texas at Austin survey agreed with the statement “Global warming is a scam.”  Wow… So back to the consumer.  A recent Nielsen survey found that consumer concern about climate change and global warming takes a back seat compared to other environmental issues such as air and water pollution, water shortages, packaging waste and use of pesticides.  The survey titled, 2011 Global Online Environment & Sustainability Survey, queried over 25,000 Internet respondents in 51 countries.

69 percent say they are concerned about climate change/global warming but concern for other environmental issues are taking a higher priority in the minds of consumers and are rising with greater intensity. Three out of four global consumers rated air pollution (77%) and water pollution (75%) as top concerns. But the areas where concern is mounting fastest among 73 percent of consumers is worry over the use of pesticides, packaging waste, and water shortages. The American consumer is one of the biggest skeptics, recording one of the steepest declines in concern about climate change/global warming from 2007 to 2011, dropping 14 percentage points.  According to the Nielsen study, today, less than half of Americans (48%) say they are concerned about climate change.  On the other hand, Latin Americans remain the most concerned about climate change/global warming, at 90 percent. Perhaps its time our TV weather people left their studios and took a look, and whiff outside.

For Food News Today, I’m Phil Lempert, thanks for joining us. If you have a colleague in retailing, the media or a blogger who would like to also receive our advance email - please send them to to sign up. Next week’s stories will be in your Tuesday email.