Health and nutrition issues confuse consumers; rising cost brings yet another factor by ProQuest

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Another area of research is "GIS" (Geographic information system) technology, which refers to proximity of something as a measure of its risk to public health. In Los Angeles County, Calif., a law was passed limiting the number of fast food restaurants. "You could conceivably do vending machines," [Sylvia Rowe] said. The most important issue of all for regulatory and legislative action will be obesity.

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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
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