Publications

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  • Introduction of New Food Products With Voluntary Health- and Nutrition-Related Claims, 1989-2010

    EIB-108, February 20, 2013

    New food products introduced with voluntary health- and nutrition-related claims accounted for 43.1 percent of all new U.S. food product introductions in 2010, up from 25.2 percent in 2001 and 34.6 percent in 1989.

  • Nutritional Quality of Food Prepared at Home and Away From Home, 1977-2008

    EIB-105, December 27, 2012

    Americans are consuming more of their daily caloric intake away from home, primarily from table-service and fast-food restaurants.

  • New Food Choices Free of Trans Fats Better Align U.S. Diets With Health Recommendations

    EIB-95, April 18, 2012

    ERS examined recent reductions in the trans fat content of new food products, the use and market success of "no trans fats" package claims, and whether manufacturers are substituting healthful ingredients for trans fats.

  • How Americans Rate Their Diet Quality: An Increasingly Realistic Perspective

    EIB-83, September 23, 2011

    ERS finds that there is a heightened realism among Americans about their own diets, and examines how perceptions of diet quality vary with food expenditures, household food availability, and eating patterns.

  • Will Calorie Labeling in Restaurants Make a Difference?

    Amber Waves, March 14, 2011

    A 2010 Federal law will require U.S. chain restaurants to display calorie information on their menus and menu boards. Will consumers use this information to make healthier food choices?

  • How Much Do Fruits and Vegetables Cost?

    EIB-71, February 01, 2011

    ERS used retail scanner data to estimate the average prices of 153 fresh and processed fruits and vegetables. The report includes estimates of the cost of meeting the recommendations of USDA's recently released 2010 Dietary Guidelines

  • Americans Are More Realistic About the Quality of Their Diets

    Amber Waves, March 01, 2010

    Presumably, Americans are more realistic today about their diet quality because they have greater knowledge of what constitutes a healthy diet. In 2005-06, 79 percent of U.S. adults had heard of the Food Guide Pyramid, up from 33 percent in 1994, and 51 percent knew about the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, up from 30 percent in 1994.

  • Food Policy: Check the List of Ingredients

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2009

    Policies designed to improve the diet quality and health of Americans are likely to have only marginal effects on consumers’ food choices. However, policies targeted directly at consumers such as nutrition information and education programs, along with labeling regulations, can spur the reformulation of products with healthier ingredients by stimulating competition among food manufacturers to offer products that appeal to health-conscious consumers. Manufacturers’ responsiveness to food policy provides policymakers with a lever to affect diet quality for large numbers of consumers. Effective use of this lever can help stimulate a chain reaction leading to healthy food reformulations and a more nutritious food supply.

  • Food Safety and Imports: An Analysis of FDA Import Refusal Reports

    EIB-39, September 09, 2008

    This report examines U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) data on refusals of food offered for importation into the United States from 1998 to 2004. Although the data do not necessarily reflect the distribution of risk in foods, the study found that import refusals highlight food safety problems that appear to recur in trade and where the FDA has focused its import alerts, examinations (e.g., sampling), and other monitoring efforts. The data show some food industries and types of violations may be consistent sources of problems both over time and in comparison with previous studies of more limited data. The three food industry groups with the most violations were vegetables (20.6 percent of total violations), fishery and seafood (20.1 percent), and fruits (11.7 percent). Violations observed over the entire time period include sanitary issues in seafood and fruit products, pesticides in vegetables, and unregistered processes for canned food products in all three industries.

  • Use of Nutrition Labels Declining, Especially Among Young Adults

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2008

    According to recent ERS analyses, use of nutrition labels and health claims on food packages declined between 1995 and 2005. The decline was greater among adults 20 to 29 years old than other groups of U.S. consumers.

  • Is Dietary Knowledge Enough? Hunger, Stress, and Other Roadblocks to Healthy Eating

    ERR-62, August 11, 2008

    Using a consumer demand model, ERS illustrates how both long-term health objectives and immediate visceral influences (e.g., time pressure) influence food choices.

  • The Decline in Consumer Use of Food Nutrition Labels, 1995-2006

    ERR-63, August 11, 2008

    ERS examines changes on consumers' use of nutrition labels on food items between 1995-96 and 2005-06 and finds that use has declined for most components of labels.

  • Do Food Labels Make a Difference?...Sometimes

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2007

    The economics behind food labeling provides insight into the dynamics of voluntary and mandatory food labeling and the influence labeling has on consumers' food choices.

  • Can Food Stamps Do More To Improve Food Choices? An Economic Perspective

    EIB-29, September 27, 2007

    Eight economic information bulletins compile evidence to address the question of whether the Food Stamp Program could do more to encourage healthful food choices.

  • Can Food Stamps Do More to Improve Food Choices? An Economic Perspective-Making Healthy Food Choices Easier: Ideas From Behavioral Economics

    EIB-29-7, September 27, 2007

    With obesity the most prevalent nutrition problem facing Americans at all economic levels, promoting diets that provide adequate nutrition without too many calories has become an important objective for the Food Stamp Program. Findings from behavioral economics suggest innovative, low-cost ways to improve the diet quality of food stamp participants without restricting their freedom of choice. Unlike more traditional economic interventions, such as changing prices or banning specific foods, the strategies explored in this brief can be targeted to those participants who want help making more healthful food choices.

  • Can Food Stamps Do More to Improve Food Choices? An Economic Perspective—Nutrition Information: Can It Improve the Diets of Low-Income Households?

    EIB-29-6, September 03, 2007

    The Food Stamp Nutrition Education (FSNE) component of the Food Stamp Program is intended to improve the food choices, diet quality, and health of program participants. This brief discusses the FSNE program, how it operates, and how it has grown over time. The brief also considers the challenges of nutrition education in general and discusses the research and evaluation needs suggested by the findings.

  • Possible Implications for U.S. Agriculture From Adoption of Select Dietary Guidelines

    ERR-31, November 20, 2006

    To help Americans meet nutritional requirements while staying within caloric recommendations, the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourage consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole-grain products, and fat-free or low-fat milk or milk products. This report provides one view of the potential implications for U.S. agriculture if Americans changed their current consumption patterns to meet some of those guidelines. For Americans to meet the fruit, vegetable, and whole-grain recommendations, domestic crop acreage would need to increase by an estimated 7.4 million harvested acres, or 1.7 percent of total U.S. cropland in 2002. To meet the dairy guidelines, consumption of milk and milk products would have to increase by 66 percent; an increase of that magnitude would likely require an increase in the number of dairy cows as well as increased feed grains and, possibly, increased acreage devoted to dairy production.

  • Let's Eat Out: Americans Weigh Taste, Convenience, and Nutrition

    EIB-19, October 17, 2006

    Whether eating out or buying carry-out, Americans are consuming more and more of their calories from full-service and fast-food restaurant fare. The share of daily caloric intake from food purchased and/or eaten away from home increased from 18 percent to 32 percent between the late 1970s and the middle 1990s, and the away-from-home market grew to account for about half of total food expenditures in 2004, up from 34 percent in 1974. Analysis of a survey of U.S. consumers indicates that respondents want convenience and an enjoyable dining experience, but the desire for health also plays a role as does diet-health knowledge.

  • Food Dynamics and USDA's New Dietary Guidelines

    EIB-5, September 29, 2005

    Food Dynamics provides the most up-to-date information on consumer behavior and retail food market conditions.

  • Dairy Policies in Japan

    LDPM-134-01, August 24, 2005

    This report provides a detailed description and analysis of Japan's policies that support its milk producers and regulate dairy markets. Domestic supply controls boost the milk price, and government subsidies for producing manufacturing milk, for environmental improvements, and for hazard insurance provide additional support to farms. Regulations about milk labeling have affected milk powder use. At the border, tariff-rate quotas offer limited opportunities to private firms within the quota amounts, and impose very high tariffs on imports of dairy products outside the quota. If Japan's policies were liberalized, prices and production in Japan would fall, but sizable milk production would remain.