Over 49 million Americans turn to fast-food and another 41 million to pre-cooked, store-bought prepared foods and meals.
In addition, the report- called "On-The-Go-Eating in the US: Consumer, Foodservice, Retailing and Marketing Trends"—found that fully 1/2 of Americans skip meals on a regular basis and graze on snack foods instead.
A second, unrelated report- the International Food and Information Council’s 2007 Food and Health Survey- found that more than 80% of Americans are interested in consuming what are referred to as "functional foods". Functional foods are loosely defined as foods and beverages with added health and wellness benefits.
What's the take-home point? It's a no-brainer. Americans are craving snack foods and convenient meal-replacement choices that are both convenient and that meet the definition of healthy food. Consumers in the IFIC survey indicated that improving heart health was the number one thing they looked for when choosing foods with health benefits, followed closely by "maintaining overall health and wellness", "improving physical energy or stamina" and "improving digestive health".
The ideal snack food for the health conscious and busy consumer would contain no trans-fats (absolutely essential for heart health). It would contain high fiber for digestive health and low sugar for overall well-being and the maintenance of health and wellness. (After all, high sugar diets have now been linked with increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's and some cancers.)
The ideal snack food would have to contain high quality protein to supply the amino acids necessary for healthy bones, muscles and dozens of biochemical's that keep the body functioning smoothly. And it would have the right balance of protein, fat and fiber to keep you full and satisfied longer, contributing to energy and decreasing the likelihood of cravings that lead to overeating and binging.
Atkins Advantage bars and shakes meet every one of these specifications and more. The Atkins Advantage Chocolate Peanut Butter bar, for example, contains a whopping 19 grams of high quality protein, 10 grams of fiber (as much as the best of the "high fiber" cereals on the market, and more than 95 percent of the rest), and only a single gram of sugar (for comparison, a Power Bar contains 24 grams!) As a bonus, it's also an excellent source of calcium. And its 240 calories make it the perfect mini-meal to keep you going all afternoon.
Consumers in the survey also reported that taste and price continue to be the biggest influence on their food decisions. Atkins Advantage bars have consistently been chosen in taste tests as the clear winner of competing products.
The demand for quick and easy snack foods is clear from both consumer surveys, as is the demand that snack foods meet high standards of taste and health. Atkins Advantage bars and shakes do both. They're the perfect food for an on-the-go consumer who cares about her health!