The Nielsen Co. unveiled its Nielsen Healthy Eating Index in February, providing retailers and manufacturers with a data set that aims to track healthful eating choices over a period of time and monitor the effects of industry health and wellness trends.
The index studies the sale of products with labels bearing health claims related to 13 healthy eating categories, including organic and whole wheat. Purchases of healthful goods like fresh produce also are computed.
In January, the dollar sales of products with claims regarding fat made up nearly one-fifth of the index, followed by the sale of products with “natural” claims and items bearing reduced calorie claims. The United States scored a respectable 402 during the first month of this year, an improvement from the 389 it scored in January 2008, as computed by the index. January tends to be a more healthful month than many, as people make improved lifestyle resolutions and attempt to get back on track after the holiday season.