Results from the Nutrition and Education Committee’s Monthly 3-Question Surveys


The Nutrition and Education Committee (NEC) has been posting a survey in the Co-op Voice for almost two years now, and we’d like to thank each and every respondent for participating. Your answers have been very helpful to us, and to the Co-op in general. But, our time in this venue has come to an end. We are no longer authorized to post our surveys here. But, in our opinion, it wouldn’t be right if we didn’t post the results to our May and June surveys here today, in case you are interested in reading the responses.

May’s Survey Results

Shoppers in the Bulk Department
Photo by John Carl D’Annibale. From the August 8, 2013 Times Union

In May’s issue, we discussed some of the benefits of soaking and sprouting grains, beans, nuts, and seeds and asked a few questions about how people prepare them. Most experts agree, soaking is good, but soaking and sprouting are better. Thank you to all who responded! Please click here to see the full results of May’s survey.

Our first question was, “Do you soak and/or sprout beans, grains, nuts, or seeds from the Bulk Department?” More than 34% of respondents said never, almost 29% said they soak or sprout sometimes, 20% said they always did, 14% said they seldom did, and 3% said they did it often. Several people commented that they soak beans. I, personally, soak and sprout all of the above, often. I find that when I do, my digestion is better and I feel better in general. One respondent said, “I don’t know how to or what to do with them if I did.” If you’d like to try soaking and/or sprouting, but don’t know how; check out some of these links:
How to Soak & Sprout Nuts, Seeds, Grains, & Beans
Soak & Sprout Chart
Soaking and Sprouting; Legumes, Nuts, Seeds, and Grains.

Our second question was about how you soak beans, grains, nuts, or seeds, if you do at all. About a third of respondents said they never soak or sprout anything, while 18% said they do soak, utilizing the sprouting seeds, containers, jars, and lids from the Bulk Department, and 47% said they use something else. Most respondents that do soak commented that they soak and/or sprout in a glass bowl, jar, pot, or Dutch oven, not necessarily any special equipment.

Our third question asked about cookware preferences for cooking grains and beans from scratch. Stainless steel pots were favored by more than half of respondents, while about a quarter of respondents use cast iron with enamel coating, almost as many reported use of a crockpot/slow cooker, and far fewer use glass pots, pressure cookers, Instant Pots, cast iron, or non-stick coated pots. Approximately a quarter of respondents reported preferring the convenience of canned beans and prepared grains, and 6% said they never cook grains and beans. One person said, “Sort of afraid of the pressure cooker, but maybe a class?” That sounds like a great idea! We’ll have to see what we can do about that!

June’s Survey Results

spoon and fork in sugarIn June’s issue, we discussed sugar, sweets, and product placement in the store. Thank you to everyone who responded! Please click here to see the full results of June’s survey. There were too many interesting comments on these questions to list them all. If you’d like to read them, please make sure you click “Comments” in the bottom left corner of each of the question boxes.

Our first question was, “Do you feel that the Co-op should carry foods with a high percentage of added sugars? For example, candy, chocolate, cookies, and sweets.” 43% of respondents answered yes, 38% answered no, 7% answered don’t care, and 12% answered other.

Question number two was, “Do you think the Co-op should have candy, chocolate, and sweets at the registers?” A resounding 76% of respondents said no, 17% answered don’t care, 7% answered other, but absolutely no one answered yes! Wow! That’s a clear answer!

Question number three was “Should products in the Co-op with a high percentage of added sugars be limited to certain areas?” 27% of respondents said they should not be in the store at all, 24% said they should be limited to one aisle in the store, 20% said they should not be limited, 15% said above a six-year-old’s reach, 5% said above a 12-year-old’s reach, 10% said other. No one thought it was a good idea to put them behind the counter or have them locked in a case! ;D One commenter suggested “above a 40-year-old’s reach! ;-)” Love it! Oh, wait, I’m 50! :0

And, last but not least, our “Just for fun!” question,” What do you remember about the ‘Sugar Wars’?” This was a comment-only question. No statistics to report, but there were a lot of great comments on this question. Please click here if you’d like to read them all, and make sure you click “Comments” in the bottom left corner of the question box.

One question did come up that we felt compelled to answer, “I am curious about how a ‘high percentage of added sugars’ would be defined. Would this include baked goods made by the Co-op? Chocolate included in specialty foods? Or primarily candies?” Going by the standards from the American Heart Association and the World Health Organization, discussed below, adults with a diet of three meals a day should have a maximum of anywhere from 8-13 grams of sugar per meal, depending on gender. That means any one item on your plate should have even less. Just for an example: a flavored yogurt typically has 15-25 grams of sugar. That can be a whole day’s worth of sugar. I personally try not to buy anything with more than 4 grams of sugar per serving

Expert panels worldwide have made consistent recommendations on daily sugar intake. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) of added sugar per day for women and 9 teaspoons (38 grams) for men. The AHA limits for children vary depending on their age and caloric needs, but range between 3-6 teaspoons (12 – 25 grams) per day.

That is in line with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendation that no more than 10% of an adult’s calories – and ideally less than 5% – should come from added sugar or from natural sugars in honey, syrups and fruit juice. For a 2,000-calorie diet, 5% would be 25 grams.

Ed. Note: The Co-op Voice team is very grateful to Alana Sprague who has been the primary author of the NEC’s Three Question Surveys and follow-up reports. Our readers looked forward to these interactive and informative articles in our newsletter each month. We will surely miss this feature.

Author Note: On behalf of the NEC, thank you so much for all your support and participation in our survey over these past two years. It has been enlightening and entertaining. We wish you all good health and happiness!