Consumers’ dietary goals are often at odds with recommendations from health authorities, according to the NPD Group. For example, government-recommended dietary guidelines suggest that consumers need more fiber and less sodium in their daily diets, yet consumers focus on eating more protein, not fiber, and consume more sodium than is recommended.

In its recently released America’s Health Pulse: Closing the Gap Between Wants and Needs, NPD reports that 41 percent of US adults want more protein in their diets. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommend 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily or 56 grams for sedentary men and 46 grams for sedentary women, but all adult age groups exceed the recommended amount.

While 35 percent of consumers want more fiber in their diets, as the government suggests, the average American falls far below the recommended daily intake. Additionally, while consumers are concerned about their sodium intake, their daily intake far exceeds the recommended less than 2,300 mg per day.

“In the food and beverage industry, health and wellness is a constantly moving target, and the question is always, ‘what will and won’t stick?,” says Darren Seifer, food and beverage industry analyst at The NPD Group. “Food manufacturers and retailers can better position their products by understanding their consumers’ nutritional gaps and goals for living healthier lives. They can also help to educate consumers.”