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Economic Downturn Pits Saving Money Against Eating Healthy

Midwest Dairy Council launches 'Dairy Makes Sense' campaign to educate consumers about the cost-effective nutritional value of dairy foods

KANSAS CITY, Mo., May 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Consumers are shifting priorities when making grocery purchase decisions in the current economy, according to a new survey released by the Midwest Dairy Council. According to the April survey* of 1,002 people, more than half of consumers say price, not nutrition, is the most important factor when grocery shopping in this economic climate.

"This points to a need for more information about nutrient-rich foods, such as milk, cheese and yogurt, that deliver more bang for your buck than other options at the grocery store," says Stephanie Cundith, a registered dietitian with the Midwest Dairy Council. "Dollar for dollar, dairy is actually one of the most economical sources of nutrition."

New motivators in grocery shopping uncovered in this survey may point to a nutrition recession. Consumers say, by a margin of two to one, that shopping for discounted foods has increased in importance since the recession began. Some consumers are even choosing to reduce their purchases of basic, nutrient-rich foods, like dairy. More than one-third of respondents say they are buying less dairy products in general.

"Dairy makes sense when times are tough," says Cundith. "Milk, for example, packs nine essential nutrients at only 25 cents per glass. Consumers should purchase more nutrient-rich foods such as dairy, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats, and avoid empty-calorie foods that provide little or no nutrition at a high cost."

Eating nutrient-rich foods means getting the most vitamins, minerals and other nutrients per serving without empty calories. Cundith points out that as consumers cut costs, they should look for foods that provide value from both economic and nutritional perspectives, instead of just shopping for lower-priced or discounted foods. For example, yogurt and flavored milk are excellent nutrient-rich choices. One eight ounce serving of yogurt provides nearly a third of your daily calcium needs, while sodas offer plenty of calories through added sugars with little nutrient value except through fortification.

"Almost 40 percent of the survey respondents who reported purchasing fewer dairy products since the economic downturn said they believe they can get the necessary nutrition from other foods," says Cundith. "Yet, dairy provides four of the seven nutrients Americans are missing the most, including calcium, potassium, magnesium and vitamin A."

For more information, recipes and tips about banking on the basics by purchasing nutrient-rich foods to maintain a nutritious and well-balanced diet, log on to

Dairy Cost Savings

    Milk    Protein is one of the most          Buy milk by the gallon to
             expensive parts of the diet. Milk   stretch your dollar. An 8-oz.
             is one of the most economical       glass of milk costs about 25
             sources of high-quality protein     cents, significantly less
             and calcium, both of which are      than the average sports
             important for the growth and        drink.
             development of bones and teeth.
    Yogurt  Yogurt can deliver nearly a third   Buy low-fat, plain yogurt by
             of your daily calcium needs in      the quart. Flavor it yourself
             just one 8-oz. serving.             and use it as an ingredient
                                                 for healthier recipes.
    Cheese  Cheese, with 8 grams of protein     Cheese is most cost-effective
             per ounce, is a nutrient-rich       when purchased in block form.
             food.                               Shred cheese over vegetables
                                                 or casseroles or cut it into
                                                 bite-size chunks for a quick


The Midwest Dairy Council is the nutrition education division of Midwest Dairy Association. The Council's mission is to promote a healthy diet through nutrition education and the use of dairy products to consumers, health professionals and teachers. Midwest Dairy Council is funded by check-off dollars from dairy farmers in a nine-state region that includes: Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma. For more information, visit or

* Omnibus telephone survey conducted April 16-19, 2009, by Opinion Research Corporation's CARAVAN Omnibus Survey (ORC) to gather information about consumers' grocery purchasing behavior during the global economic recession. Included 1,002 adults, 18 years of age and older, throughout the continental United States.

SOURCE Midwest Dairy Council
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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