portion potions

America is a nation of dashboard diners. But Americans are taking a more sensible approach to eating on the go, realizing the need to balance convenience with healthy eating, according to On-The-Go Eating: Consumer Mindsets, Menu Trends and Product/Packaging Innovations, a new report from market researcher Packaged Facts.

Key trends covered in the report include the impact that litigation and new and proposed legislation is having on food producers and marketers; and the increasing focus on combating obesity and related illnesses in the United States via healthier fare, especially among kids.

Manufacturers are taking steps to offer consumers more "better-for-you" options. Nabisco, for example, recently introduced its 100-Calorie Snack Packs featuring popular brand names Oreo, Chips Ahoy!, Wheat Thins and Cheese Nips, among others. And retailers are reaping the benefits.

"We seem to be seeing some growth in the smaller portions of cookies," saysTerry Taylor, director of operations for Buzz Buy Convenience Stores (Magnolia,AR). "I've found in our stores that people like the smaller impulse items, likethe 10′ to 15′ Butterfingers by the registers. We've been doing thesefour-pack cookies for 25′ and they fly off the counter. Customers mustthink they're being more healthy by eating less or something along those lines

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