CONVENTION REPORT N A M A N A T I O N A L E X P O (COVERAGE BEGAN IN THE NOVEMBER ISSUE)
Health and nutrition issues
confuse consumers; rising cost
brings yet another factor
I f you’ve been trying to keep up with consumer atti-
tudes about food, health and nutrition, chances are
you’re fairly confused. You’re not alone. Consumers
in general are highly confused, thanks to mixed mes-
sages they’re getting about nutrition from the media and a
renewed concern about product costs.
Sylvia Rowe, an author on food and nutrition, at-
tempted to clarify the various concerns bearing on
consumers during the National Automatic Merchandising
Association (NAMA) government affairs symposium,
held in conjunction with the NAMA national expo in
St. Louis, Mo. recently.
The symposium is an annual gathering of state
▲ Sylvia Rowe explains the evolution of health and nutrition
NAMA ofﬁcers and the NAMA staff. Rowe, a veteran
food industry observer and the only member of the awareness at the NAMA state ofﬁcers meeting in St. Louis, Mo.
NAMA board who is not a vending industry member, at-
tempted to give her listeners some idea about what the Another inﬂuence affecting buying decisions today has
“food environment” will be for the food and refreshment to do with the ethics of food. In this regard, Rowe said
services industry. the U.S. is following Europe, where concern about the
Rowe is president of SR Strategy LLC, based in environment and the treatment of animals play into buying
Washington, D.C. decisions. “This (treatment of animals) is very much a new
She began her presentation with an illustration phenomenon, as well as the emphasis on green,” she said.
of round bombs labeled for the various concerns that Green issues will become even more important as gov-
consumers are facing and will continue to face: obesity, ernment agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission
food safety, processed foods, scientiﬁc credibility, label- begin examining “green” claims in product labels.
ing standards, marketing standards, etc. “You have time Medicinal concerns are also inﬂuencing buying deci-
bombs that have actively exploded,” she said. sions, which brings in another set of factors. The functional
food market has grown, and there has been a blending of
CONSUMERS TODAY ARE MORE CONFUSED pharmaceuticals and functional foods.
With all of these “time bombs” exploding or about to “What’s really unusual is the convergence of the is-
explode, how are consumers inﬂuenced in their buying sues,” Rowe said, referring to health, the environment, and
decisions? These decisions, according to Rowe, are driven the economy.
by three key factors: time, taste and confusion. Confusion
is being fed by the various things they hear, see and read SCIENCE DRIVES HEALTH CONCERNS