NEW YORK, July 21 Today, advertising agency TAXI NYC and Food Content Alerts (http://www.foodcontentalerts.com), the world's first interactive food management tool, announced the results of the global survey "Life with Food Allergies and Sensitivities." More than 1,000 survey respondents from anglophone countries U.S., U.K., Canada, New Zealand, and Australia opted into the survey online. The only qualification for participation was that they or someone in their household suffer from a food allergy or sensitivity.
Food allergies and sensitivities are a serious and growing problem in developed countries. Experts estimate that as many as 60 million people in the U.S. are affected, either with a personal condition or through a family member, and that this number is increasing every year. The FCA site was launched last October following extensive research and development, and already has considerable Web traffic, users, and social media presence.
"With a critical mass of members and visitors to the site, we thought it was time to learn more about the people who use our tool. As one of the principles of FCA is sharing knowledge, our intention was to share the findings and, in doing so, raise awareness of this important issue," said Rich Muhlstock, the founder and manager of the site, which was created by TAXI NYC. "Even with all the information available on the Internet, we found that most respondents did not have a single Web destination to search for safe foods."
The results also showed that food allergies and sensitivities often affect more than one person in a household, with 45% of respondents having two or more allergy sufferers in a single household, while 20% have three or more sufferers. The survey confirmed that the condition has a huge emotional and logistical impact on family life. Sixty-six percent of respondents claimed that life with food sensitivities was difficult, compared with only 10% that found it easy to deal with.
The range of allergens and sensitivities mentioned by respondents was very surprising, according to Caroline Krediet, Planning Director, TAXI NYC. "While we saw large groups suffering from lactose and gluten allergies, 40% of respondents claimed sensitivity to foods not on the typical list of the most common allergies. This indicates that as the number of sufferers grows, so too does the list of food agents that affect them. We were surprised to see beef and corn as allergens mentioned by several hundred respondents."
Feedback on shopping behaviors was also interesting, with 87% of respondents relying on memory alone to select safe foods. "Surely this must be limiting to the repertoire of foods they can include in their diet. We hope this is something FCA can help address," says Muhlstock. Only a small minority of respondents believed that food companies did a good job labeling their foods. Sixty percent saw their current practices as inadequate.
Some bright spots for retailers and brands: Whole Foods was the clear winner in terms of favorite stores for allergy-free foods, with Trader Joe's not far behind. In terms of top "safe food" brands purchased by respondents, Bob's Red Mill, Enjoy Life, and Amy's were each mentioned by 10% of respondents. In the top 20 most frequently mentioned brands, General Mills led the pack, followed by Kraft and Kellogg's.
The survey was fielded from June 1-21, 2010. Respondents were 89% female, with 69% falling between the ages of 25 and 49. More information and detailed results are available at http://www.foodcontentalerts.com.
FoodContentAlerts.com is a free online and mobile application that helps consumers with food sensitivities to manage their personal data. The site lets users organize a world of fragmented information via the creation of a personal sensitivity profile, which allows users to search for recipes, build personalized shopping lists, and more. FoodContentAlerts.com can also be accessed on the go via a mobile application. The site and app will revolutionize the way consumers navigate the world of food sensitivities and provide a unique targeted environment for advertisers. TAXI, New York (http://www.taxi-nyc.com), conceived of and developed the site. The site was built in partnership with Stem Limited (http://www.stemlimited.com).
TAXI Canada Inc. (http://www.taxi.ca), TAXI Inc. (http://www.taxi-nyc.com), and TAXI Europe BV (http://www.taxi-eu.com) are companies with core expertise in Strategic Planning, Advertising, Design, Interactive, Relationship Marketing and Content. Founded in Montreal (1992), the agency's offices include Toronto and TAXI 2 (1992, 2006), New York (2004), Calgary (2005), Vancouver (2007), and Amsterdam (2009). TAXI was named Canadian Agency of the Year by Marketing magazine in 2001 and 2005, and won Strategy magazine's Agency of the Year award in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2008. TAXI New York in 2007 and 2008 won the O'Toole Award for Creative Excellence from the American Association of Advertising Agencies. Client assignments in Canada include TELUS Consumer Solutions, Pfizer's VIAGRA, Burger King, Heineken, Canadian Tire, Reitmans Group, Bombardier, and Dairy Farmers of Canada. On the U.S. roster are New York Life, Blue Shield of California, Rail Europe Group, Metro International, Clearwire, and New Holland Agriculture. TAXI Europe clients include KPN Royal Dutch Telecom International, Heineken, TNT Post, BNP Paribas, ING, and the Hi and Telfort telecommunications brands.
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Contact: Rich Muhlstock Client Services Director/TAXI NYC General Manager/Food Content Alerts 917.237.8704 [email protected]
Caroline Krediet Planning Director TAXI NYC 212.414.8294 [email protected]