Many Americans need to take personal responsibility for their poor eating habits, especially when they are dining out, says editor Dan Malovany. To be healthy, people need to practice what they preach.

Personal Responsibility

In these desperate times, yours truly is offering a Summertime Spectacular. Here’s three columns for the price of one. What can be better than that?

Forget I asked. Just shut up.

First, when it comes to eating healthy, it’s a safe bet that most Americans would be lying through their teeth if they weren’t so busy stuffing their faces with food.

That’s been confirmed once again in a survey by Chicago-based Mintel Menu Insights that shows only 20% of consumers rank food health as an important factor when ordering dinner at a restaurant. Rather, good old primeval factors like taste (77%) and hunger satisfaction (44%) determine what they’re looking for on a restaurant menu.

When it comes to eating out, Mintel adds, most consumers blame the restaurants. Some 54% of those surveyed noted that healthy menu items are expensive and the nutritious choices are few and far between. In fact, only 5% of new items on menus carry a nutritional claim, and nearly one in five new items were fried, according to Mintel.

Ya’ gotta love it when people blame everyone but themselves for their lack of personal responsibility.
In my second column, here’s more data to chomp on.

The most frequent purchasers of white and whole grain breads consume an average of 38 lb. of total bread per year, according to Catalina Marketing USA, the St. Petersburg, Fla., company that tracks actual purchasing behavior.

When it comes to white bread, 54% of buyers account for 80% of the volume of product purchased while an amazingly low 12% of shoppers generate 80% of the whole grain bread volume.

But what other products do shoppers purchase with their white or wheat bread? Looking at the top 30 white bread product interactions, a majority of those shopping baskets also contain “kid-friendly” items, includingKool Aid,Chef Boyardeecanned pasta andLittle Debbiesnack cakes (which take four of the top 30 slots of other products purchased by white bread producers).

Not surprisingly, white bread customers are five to seven times more likely to buy these “kid-friendly” items than the average shopper, according to Catalina’s tracking of millions of retail food transactions.

Heck, moms have to keep their children happy.

On the other hand, more sandwich-making items, as well as products perceived as healthy, are among the 30 products most frequently purchased with whole grain bread.Little Debbiesnacks didn’t make this list, butKellogg’s Nutri-Grainbars andNature Valleygranola bars did, Catalina notes. Maybe there’s a slight correlation between buying whole grain breads and trying to eat more healthful foods.

Moreover, 100-calorie pack shoppers are more than 6.5 times more likely to buy products that are portion controlled, nutritional or diet-related. In fact, 75% of the top 30 products purchased with 100-calorie packs have portion, diet or nutritional attributes. Apparently, these are people who are trying to take some personal responsibility when it comes to eating more healthful foods.

That said, who buys the most chips? According to Catalina, 16.3% of all shoppers generate 80% of snack chip volume. Those who love their snacks must love them a lot.

Thirdly, theHolsumbranded bakers are teaming up with the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) to help make a difference for Jerry’s Kids this summer. Special packaging will be in stores the month of August, highlighting the Holsum brand’s support of the MDA. The Holsum bakers will donate a minimum of $20,000 to the organization. Each participating bakery will appear on their local Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon to present their portion of the donation, notes Janine Knetl, marketing manager for The Long Co. in Chicago.

TheHolsumbakers walk the walk when it comes to personal responsibility. Those people who just talk the talk should keep their big yaps shut.

Dan Malovany, editor

Editor’s Note: Go to and check out Dan’s exclusive online-only columns.