2012 IFIC Foundation Food & Health Survey Media Resources

Overview & Summary

The 2012 Food & Health Survey: Consumer Attitudes toward Food Safety, Nutrition, and Health, commissioned by the International Food Information Council Foundation, is the seventh annual national quantitative study designed to gain insights from Americans on important food safety, nutrition, and health-related topics. The research provides the opportunity to gain insight on how Americans view their own diets, their efforts to improve them, how they balance diet and exercise, and their beliefs and behaviors when it comes to food safety.

Press Release, Executive Summary, Full Report, and Webcast Slides

Click here to view Press Release.

Click here (PDF) for the Executive Summary.

Click here (PDF) to view the Full Report.

Click here (PPT) to view the Media Webcast Slides.

Quick Facts

  • Nine out of ten Americans describe their health as good or better, a significant increase from previous years.  The majority (60%) report that their health is either excellent or very good, and only nine percent report that they are in fair or poor health. 
  • More than half of Americans (55%) report that they are trying to lose weight, while 22 percent indicate they are trying to maintain their weight.  Only 20 percent report that they are not doing anything regarding their weight.
  • While the majority of Americans (71%) estimated their daily calorie needs, 64 percent of them estimated incorrectly with nearly half (49%) under estimating.  Only about one in seven Americans (15%) accurately estimates the number of calories they need to maintain their weight.
  • Two-thirds of Americans report that they have given some thought to whether foods and beverages they purchase or consume are produced in a sustainable way.
  • Nearly six out of ten Americans consider protein when making a decision about buying packaged food or beverages, and most people report that they are trying to consume more.  More consumers (47%) try to eat protein during an evening meal than during other meals or snacks; however, more than half (52%) of Americans simply try to get enough protein over the course of the day or week than focus too much on specific meal times. 
  • Three out of four consumers (76%) feel that changes in nutritional guidance make it hard to know what to believe.
  • Nearly six in ten Americans (57%) believe that online and mobile tools can help them live healthier lifestyles.
  • Packaging information most commonly used by American consumers includes the expiration date (76%) and the Nutrition Facts panel (66%).   Half of consumers report that they look at the ingredients list, the serving size and amount per container, and calorie or nutrition information icons displayed on the front of the package.
  • Similar to past years, taste and price continue to drive food and beverage choices (87% and 73% respectively) more than healthfulness (61%), convenience (53%) or sustainability (35%). 
  • Nearly nine in ten parents believe that it is good for their health to sit down and eat meals with their family, with fifty-seven percent strongly agreeing to that point.  Two-thirds of parents worry more about the healthfulness of their children’s diets than their own.
  • The initial benchmark Food and Health Survey was conducted in 2006 and subsequent trending Surveys were conducted in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Featured Video

Filmed in Washington, DC asking real people real questions from the 2012 IFIC Food and Health Survey.

Information & Action

For more videos, which capture consumer insights on a variety of topics, click here.

Featured PSA

IFIC Foundation 2012 Food & Health Survey PSA (30 seconds)

Webcast Speaker Bios

Moderator: Steven Cohen, Director, Media Relations

Steven Cohen is the Director of Media Relations for the International Food Information Council Foundation, based in Washington, DC.  Steven began his Washington career on Capitol Hill as the Legislative Director and Press Secretary to Congressman William Grant of Florida. He also served as the Deputy Director and Senior Press Officer in the Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). In that capacity, he served as the agency’s chief spokesperson and was the communications advisor to the FSIS Administrator and the USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety.


Speaker: Marianne Smith Edge, MS, RD, LD, FADA, Senior Vice President, Nutrition and Food Safety

Marianne Smith Edge, MS, RD, LD, FADA is the Senior Vice President for Nutrition & Food Safety for the International Food Information Council Foundation. Marianne has over twenty five years of experience in the healthcare and nutrition communications and marketing field. She is a past president of the American Dietetic Association and a member of the Institute of Food Technologists. Marianne currently serves on the USDA National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board, the advisory board to the USDA Secretary of Agriculture.

Marianne received her B.S. in Dietetics from the University of Kentucky and a MS in Public Health-Nutrition from Western Kentucky University.


Additional Resources


If you need additional information, a copy of the report, or would like to speak to someone in more detail regarding this Survey, please contact Steven Cohen (Cohen@ific.org) or Jania Matthews (Matthews@ific.org) at 202-296-6540.