Consumer Purchases of Cakes, Cookies, and Pies Have Decreased by 24%

Americans' purchasesof ready-to-eat grain-based dessert products fell between 2005 and 2012, butconsumers have not shifted towards products with lower energy, sugar, orsaturated fat content, according to a new study published in the Journal of theAcademy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Philadelphia, PA, December 22, 2014

Ready-to-eatgrain-based desserts(RTE GBDs) are pre-packaged consumer bakedgoods such as cakes, cookies, pies, doughnuts, and pastries. These types ofproducts contribute a significant amount of energy, sugar, and saturated fat toAmericans' diets, making them a strategic target for researchers looking topinpoint ways to lower consumption of empty calories.

In an effort to develop new methods to monitor efforts toimprove dietary quality in the United States, investigators from the Universityof North Carolina set out to analyze the RTE GBD product category from twoangles: the first examined whether changes have been made to the nutritionalcontent of manufactured RTE GBD products and the second, to determine ifconsumers purchased fewer products or shifted towards products with lowerenergy, sugar, or saturated fat content. The results published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition andDietetics found that there has been little change in the nutritionalcontent of RTE GBDs manufactured or purchased between 2005 and 2012; howeveroverall consumer purchases of RTE GBDs declined by 24% during that same timeperiod.

"The results of this study indicated that largerwide-scale efforts are needed among public health officials and allmanufacturers of RTE GBDs to shift consumer purchases towards products withlower energy, sugar, and saturated fat content," observed the lead author ofthe study, Dr. Kevin C. Mathias, a recent graduate of the Nutrition Departmentat the University of North Carolina.

While reformulating existing RTE GBDs to provide healthierfood choices presents many hurdles for manufacturers, such as replicatingtaste, appearance, and texture, new products coming to market are not muchbetter nutritionally speaking than their old counterparts. "The results fromthis analysis show that the new RTE GBD products released in 2012 did not havelower energy, sugar, or saturated fat densities than the products alreadyexisting on the market," noted Dr. Mathias. On the public health sector sidethere is also room for improvement. Development of new front-of-package labeling systems that shift consumerpurchases towards products with lower energy, sugar, and saturated fat contentis another opportunity to help consumers improve their dietary intake.

In terms of what Americans are buying at the supermarket,the study did show that there is some good news. Between 2005 and 2012,household purchases of RTE GBDs decreased by 24%. The authors noted thatchanges in consumer behavior can also have unexpected drawbacks. "A potentialconcern of shifting purchases of RTE GBDs towards products with lower energy,sugar, or saturated fat content is that consumers could potentially purchasemore RTE GBD products if they are perceived to be healthier." Stealthreformulations by which changes in the product composition are conductedunbeknownst to consumers is one option to circumvent this issue," said Dr.Mathias. These potential issues highlight the need for continual monitoring ofboth the amount and nutritional content of products purchased to ensure that effortsto improve consumer choices are effective.

Overall, expanding our understanding of the productsavailable and types of products purchased in the American marketplace is animportant step to monitor the effectiveness of efforts designed to help consumersmake healthier dietary choices. "The results from the product and purchaselevel analyses highlight an opportunity for both food manufacturers and publichealth officials to work together to develop strategies to shift consumerpurchases towards products with lower energy, sugar, and saturated fatdensities in addition to decreasing overall purchases of RTE GBDs," concludedDr. Mathias.


Notes for editors
"Monitoring Changes in the Nutritional Content ofReady-To-Eat Grain-Based Dessert Products Manufactured and Purchased Between2005 and 2012," by Kevin C. Mathias, PhD; Shu Wen Ng, PhD; Barry MPopkin, PhD, Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, DOI: 10.1016/j.jand.2014.10.018, publishedonline ahead of its issue by Elsevier.

Full text of this article isavailable to credentialed journalists upon request. Contact Eileen Leahy at +1 732 238 3628 or andjrnlmedia@elsevier.comto obtain copies. Journalists wishing interview the authors should contact Dr.Mathias at

An audio podcast featuring Dr. Kevin C. Mathias and information specificallyfor journalists are located at Excerpts from the audiomay be reproduced by the media; contact EileenLeahy to obtain permission.

About the Journal of the Academyof Nutrition And Dietetics
The official journal of the Academyof Nutrition and Dietetics (, the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition andDietetics ( is the premier source for the practice andscience of food, nutrition and dietetics. The monthly, peer-reviewed journalpresents original articles prepared by scholars and practitioners and is themost widely read professional publication in the field. The Journalfocuses on advancing professional knowledge across the range of research andpractice issues such as: nutritional science, medical nutrition therapy, publichealth nutrition, food science and biotechnology, food service systems,leadership and management and dietetics education.

About the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
The Academy of Nutrition andDietetics (, formerly the American DieteticAssociation, is the world's largest organization of food and nutritionprofessionals. The Academy is committed to improving the nation's health andadvancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy.

About Elsevier
Elsevier is a global information analytics business that helps scientists and clinicians to find new answers, reshape human knowledge, and tackle the most urgent human crises. For 140 years, we have partnered with the research world to curate and verify scientific knowledge. Today, we’re committed to bringing that rigor to a new generation of platforms. Elsevier provides digital solutions and tools in the areas of strategic research management, R&D performance, clinical decision support, and professional education; including ScienceDirect, Scopus, SciVal, ClinicalKey and Sherpath. Elsevier publishes over 2,500 digitized journals, including The Lancet and Cell, 39,000 e-book titles and many iconic reference works, including Gray's Anatomy. Elsevier is part of RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers.

Media contact
Eileen Leahy
+1 732 238 3628

Ryan O'Malley
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
+1 800 877 1600, ext. 4769