Survey finds majority of U.S. Moms believe fries can be part of a well-balanced diet

17 years ago

  EASTON, Maine – Amid the nationwide search for solutions to the obesity epidemic, a new study by the Gallup Organization offers fresh insights into U.S. mothers’ attitudes about french fries. The poll, commissioned by McCain Foods USA, Inc., confirms a love of fries and a desire for healthier french fry products and cooking choices.     Among the 2,178 mothers who completed the survey, with a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.2 percent, 88 percent of mothers think fries can be part of a well-balanced diet if fries are oven-baked instead of deep-fried. While fries are loved by many and consistently served and ordered, mothers are looking for healthier french fry options at school (70 percent), restaurants (66 percent) and grocery stores (63 percent).
“The Gallup survey reveals that American families still love french fries, but Mom clearly wants healthier options at school, home and while eating out,” said McCain USA, Inc. Chief Executive Officer Frank van Schaayk. “She believes schools should switch to healthier french fry options. Fifty-four percent said their schools should ban trans fats, 50 percent said schools should switch to oven-baked french fries, and 64 percent said their schools should switch to healthier oils.”
The products Moms demand are available right now. Along with making its entire retail potato line 0g trans fat in 2003, McCain Foods currently has more than 200 foodservice 0g trans fat items, with plans to convert all foodservice french fry and potato products to 100 percent 0g trans fat by December 2007.
McCain currently offers 19 school foodservice products that fit within the nutrition guidelines developed and approved by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and is engaged in product development testing to increase its portfolio of items containing less than 35 percent calories from fat, 0g trans fat, fewer than 10 percent calories from saturated fat and 230 mg of sodium or less per one-half cup vegetable serving. In addition, McCain recently committed to the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s guidelines for competitive foods sold in schools and pledged to support new product, public education and demonstration efforts aimed at improving child nutrition.
Moms also reported that fries are a frequent side dish. In fact, 45 percent of households have fries at least once a week at home or at restaurants. Fifty-two percent of mothers report they buy frozen fries for home use every month, and 87 percent report they buy them once or more per month at restaurants. When dining out, a majority of mothers are engaged in helping their children make healthier food decisions with 74 percent indicating they play a role in their children’s food choices. Seventy-eight percent of Moms believe fries can be a part of a well-balanced diet if they are prepared in cooking oils that do not contain trans fatty acids.
“McCain Foods believes that healthier cooking options are good for people and good for business,” said van Schaayk. “Continuing to expand the number of healthier options will help ensure we grow our company and our base of loyal customers.”
McCain Foods has a facility located at 319 Richardson Road in Easton. The Easton plant has 520 employees, and processes 586 million pounds ($40.2 million) of raw potatoes.
Globally, McCain Foods is the world’s largest manufacturer of french fries and onion rings, processing more than 1 million pounds of potatoes an hour.
Since moving to 0g trans fat, company officials estimate they have removed more than 5 million pounds of trans fat from the food supply.