Editor's Note: Survey Says ...

The month of May is always a particularly busy and interesting time here at the IFIC Foundation: It’s when we typically release our annual Food and Health Survey, an extensive look into the minds and actions of consumers on a wide array of food and nutrition topics—the key word being “extensive.”

The data is so rich, in fact, that we don’t just dump all of our findings on the world in a single day or month. We spend much of the rest of the year conducting more in-depth analysis of the data, focusing on important topics that might get short shrift in our initial rollout, and educating consumers and communicators in venues such as conferences, briefings, webinars, social media, and more.

This is the 12th annual Food and Health Survey, and it’s the fifth since I began working at the IFIC Foundation. In my opinion, it ranks near the top in terms of findings that are relevant and revelatory.

We’ve known for years that Americans feel overwhelmed and confused by conflicting information about what to eat and what to avoid. But this year we drilled down and found that this food information overload is likely contributing to unwise and unhealthy choices. In a related vein, we’re learning that the information sources consumers trust most are, paradoxically, oftentimes not the ones they’re actually relying on.

This year for the first time we collaborated with AARP Foundation to examine how Americans 50-plus differ from the rest of the population. In many cases, the differences are stark and enlightening.

We also recently announced the addition of Alex Lewin-Zwerdling to our team as Vice President of Research and Partnerships. As her title implies, she will be working to help raise our consumer research to the next level and to expand our partnerships and collaborative efforts, particularly within the public health community. In her own words: “The food landscape is changing rapidly, and consumers are increasingly seeking ways to live longer, healthier lives. It is our job to effectively communicate the latest in nutrition science, and to grow our understanding of the food information landscape.”

We’re proud that our surveys and research are broadly seen as reliable and credible—so much so that they regularly inform the work of federal policy-makers, academics, health professionals, science communicators, journalists, and others. We think you’ll find the 2017 Food and Health Survey to be another worthy contributor to that body of knowledge.

2017 Food and Health Survey