2013 Functional Foods Consumer Survey

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  Media Webcast Slides Infographic


The 2013 Functional Foods Consumer Survey is the eighth in a series of quantitative studies focused on Americans’ awareness of and attitudes toward functional foods. This research continues to provide insights into consumer perceptions of the roles of foods and beverages in promoting health and wellness. In contrast to previous surveys which largely explored views on food and health benefit pairings, the latest round of research was designed to investigate consumer perceptions related to nutrient inadequacy, the variety of sources of functional nutrients including naturally occurring and fortified, food processing, and determinants of functional food consumption.

“Functional foods” can be defined as foods and food components that may provide benefits beyond basic nutrition.   Functional foods include a wide variety of foods and food components believed to improve overall health and well-being, reduce the risk of specific diseases, or minimize the effects of other health concerns. These foods include, for example, the naturally healthful components in fruits and vegetables, whole grains and fiber in certain breads and cereals, calcium in milk, and fortified foods and beverages such as vitamin D fortified milk.  Functional foods, in its broadest definition, can also include dietary supplements. 

Key Insights

  • Similar to survey findings from 2009 and 2011, 90 percent of consumers agree that certain foods have health benefits beyond basic nutrition (87% in 2011, and 89% in 2009).
  • Consumer interest in learning more about functional foods remains high.  Almost nine in ten Americans (86%) are interested in learning more about foods that have health benefits beyond basic nutrition. 
  • Approximately 3 out of 4 consumers report concerned that they are not getting all of the nutrients or food components necessary for good health.
  • nearly two-thirds of consumers believe that functional foods will provide health benefits (63%) and have confidence they could make the necessary changes to integrate functional foods into their diet (62%).  
  • About half of consumers believe they get at least most of the nutrients/food components they need for good health from food
  • Cost is the most common barrier, with over half of consumers (55%) identifying this as a major reason. Other commonly identified barriers included taste  and a preference for pure, basic foods. 

For complete survey results, see our 

Additional Resources

Foods for Health Resource page


For interview requests and any other questions, please contact the IFIC media team at 202-296-6540, Raymond@ific.org or Matthews@ific.org