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CHICK-FIL-A/GALLUP FAST FOOD NUTRITION MONITOR REVEALS AMERICANS' NUMBER ONE CONCERN ABOUT FAST FOOD IS FAT

 Healthier Eating Habits, Knowledge of Nutrition Issues
 Indicate Trend Toward Increasing Nutritional Awareness
 CINCINNATI, March 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Americans are more concerned about fat than calories when it comes to evaluating fast food nutrition, according to the Chick-fil-A/Gallup Fast Food Nutrition Monitor, the first national monitor concerned with fast food nutrition issues.
 In the semi-annual study, consumers said that fat was the number one consideration used when evaluating the healthiness of a fast food meal.
 When a number of options were given as factors used to evaluate the healthiness of a fast food meal, three of the top five responses were "fat" related: total amount of fat (No. 1), saturated fat (No. 3), and percent of calories from fat (No. 5). Calories joined the list at number six. Cholesterol was the number two concern and sodium came in at number four.
 "The average consumer knows that counting calories doesn't necessarily lead to healthy choices. There are many other factors to consider," said Dan Cathy, executive vice president of operations, Chick-fil-A, Inc. "Consumers are becoming more aware of nutrition in their diets and are looking at a number of factors, including fat, sodium and cholesterol when they choose a fast food menu item."
 Cathy made the comments today in his announcement of the Chick-fil-A/Gallup Fast Food Nutrition Monitor during the 1993 International Food & Lifestyles Media Conference in Cincinnati.
 LACK OF UNDERSTANDING
 But consumers may be fooling themselves by focusing strictly on fat content. One of the key measurements of food nutrition as defined by the U.S. Government and endorsed by the American Heart Association is percent calories from fat. Study findings indicate the American public has heard this relatively new term enough to know it is important, but not enough to be able to calculate it on their own. In addition, the study indicates most Americans do not know the maximum recommended daily percentage of calories from fat.
 When asked if they had ever heard the term "percent calories from fat," 58 percent of the public reported having heard the term. Of that group, 45 percent reported they understood the term either "extremely" or "very well." However, 69 percent of those aware of the term stated they would not be able to calculate percent calories from fat if it were not available.
 Only 7 percent of American adults know the correct recommended dietary percentage -- 30 percent calories from fat or less is correct.
 "The study results indicate that the public needs to be educated on 'percent calories from fat,' its meaning and the recommended dietary percentage. It has been showing up more frequently on fast food nutritional information and will soon be a requirement on the new food labeling standards," said Jacques Murphy, senior vice president, The Gallup Organization.
 AMERICANS EATING HEALTHIER
 The study also found that Americans are eating healthy foods. Many Americans (48 percent) believe that they have an extremely or very healthy diet. An additional 45 percent believe their diet is somewhat healthy. Only 7 percent report that their diet is either not very healthy or not at all healthy.
 People also feel they are eating either as healthy (57 percent) or healthier (38 percent) than they did one year ago. Only 5 percent reported themselves to be eating less healthy than they did one year ago.
 In the study, more females than males reported themselves as eating healthier. Forty-one percent of females believed they were eating healthier, as opposed to 35 percent of males.
 TASTE STILL MOST IMPORTANT
 While nutrition is important, consumers stated taste as the number one attribute when choosing a fast food restaurant.
 "No matter how nutritious and healthy a product may be, it must taste good or no one will buy it," said Cathy. "What the public is telling us is that we want it healthy, but we want it to taste good."
 The study found that consumers say the availability of healthy food items effects their purchase behavior.
 When asked if having healthy food on the menu ever affected their choice of a fast food restaurant, 52 percent of respondents said it did. In addition, of those who were affected, 69 percent said that having healthy menu items "always or most of the time" influenced their choice of restaurant.
 "During the last several years, much has been said about how Americans say they want nutritious choices, but continue to eat the less healthy items." We discovered something totally different in the Chick-fil-A/Gallup Fast Food Nutrition Monitor," said Cathy.
 When evaluating the public's attitude toward fast food nutritional eating and their self-reported purchasing behavior, the survey found no significant difference between the two, with the exception of food that is broiled, baked or grilled. These results indicated that Americans say they are concerned about nutrition and as a consequence, are also eating healthy.
 METHODOLOGY
 The study was sponsored by Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A, Inc., and conducted by The Gallup Organization. It produces the first comprehensive look at the American public's perceptions regarding fast food nutrition issues and the industry's role and responsibility in providing healthy, nutritious, good tasting food.
 The survey was based on a random sample of all telephone households in the Continental U.S. during Jan. 18, 1993 through Feb. 8, 1993. A total of 1,004 telephone interviews were completed with adults 18 years of age and older. All reported figures have a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.
 The survey will be conducted twice a year and will cover several core issues on changes in the public's attitude, knowledge and behavior with regard to fast food issues, as well as probing a topical issue such as percent calories from fat.
 According to Cathy, "Chick-fil-A was motivated to probe fast food nutrition issues and attitudes because our internal customer studies consistently rated our nutritional attributes higher than any other competitive fast food chain."
 The Chick-fil-A/Gallup Monitor is the first comprehensive study of fast food nutrition conducted by Gallup.
 Chick-fil-A is the nation's third-largest quick-service chicken restaurant company. The company currently has more than 480 restaurants in 31 states and posted 1992 systemwide sales of $356 million.
 CHICK-FIL-A/GALLUP FAST FOOD NUTRITION MONITOR
 QUESTIONS
 1. What things do you consider important when deciding at which
 fast food restaurant to eat? What other things?
 2. How healthy is your overall diet today? Would you say your
 overall diet is: not at all healthy, not very healthy, somewhat
 healthy, very healthy or extremely healthy?
 3. What does healthy eating mean to you? What is your definition
 of healthy eating? What else?
 4. Would you say you now eat more healthy, less healthy or about
 the same as compared to one year ago?
 5. On average, how many times per week, if any, do you exercise?
 6. Does having food that is healthy or good for you on the menu
 ever affect your choice of which fast food restaurant to go to?
 7. On average, how often does having healthy food on the menu
 affect your choice of which fast food restaurant to go to?
 8. Suppose you are evaluating whether or not a fast food meal is
 healthy or good for you. What things do you use to determine
 whether or not the fast food meal is healthy? What else?
 9. Now I'm going to read a list of things that could be used to
 determine whether or not a fast food meal is healthy. For each
 one, please tell me whether or not you use it to determine if a
 fast food meal is healthy. Do you use the amount of (read list
 of 13 possible responses).
 10. I'm going to read you several items that may or may not
 influence your decision concerning which menu items to order at
 a fast food restaurant. For each one, please tell me how
 concerned you are using a scale with "5" being extremely
 concerned, "4" being very concerned, "3" being somewhat
 concerned, "2" being not very concerned and "1" being not at all
 concerned. First, how concerned are your with (read list of 12
 items) when deciding which menu items to order at a fast food
 restaurant? The higher the number, the more concerned you are.
 11. On average, how often do you purchase a meal that is (read a
 list of 10 items)? Would you say always, most of the time,
 sometimes, seldom or never?
 12. Taking everything into account, how good a job has the fast food
 industry done at developing and offering healthy food? Would
 you say excellent, very good, good, fair or poor?
 13. Before today, had you ever heard the term "percent calories from
 fat?"
 14. Omitted
 15. How well do you understand the term "percent calories from fat?"
 Would you say you understand it extremely well, very well,
 somewhat, not very well, not at all?
 16. In general, how often do you evaluate the fat content of food
 items? Would you say never, seldom, sometimes, most of the time
 or always?
 17. When evaluating the fat content of food items, which method do
 you use most often? Do you use total grams of fat, percent
 calories from fat or some other method?
 18. Please tell me the method you use?
 19. If the percent calories from fat were not listed for a food
 item, would you know how to determine the percent calories from
 fat using the number of fat grams?
 20. Several national health organizations have recommended that a
 well balanced diet not exceed a certain percent of calories
 from fat. Do you know what that percentage is?
 21. What is the percentage that is recommended?
 22. Overall, in your opinion, is the use of the method percent
 calories from fat better or worse than other methods of
 determining the fat content of foods?
 23. What are the reasons you say?
 24. Now I'm going to read you a list of foods. For each one, please
 tell me whether you think the percent of calories from fat is
 below 30 percent, 30 to 50 percent, or above 50 percent.
 -0- 3/29/93
 /CONTACT: Don Perry or Jerry Johnston of Chick-fil-A, Inc., 404-765-8038/


CO: Chick-fil-A ST: Georgia, Ohio IN: FOD SU:

RA-BN -- AT001 -- 0311 03/29/93 08:06 EST
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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