Consumers viewed both saturated fats and trans-fatty acids as unhealthy in two recent surveys.

The International Food Information Council’s "2008 Food & Health Survey" showed 91% of respondents in 2008 said they were aware of trans fats, up from 87% in 2007. Awareness of saturated fat came in at 90% in 2008, up from 88% in 2007. Eighty per cent of consumers viewed saturated fat as not healthful in 2008 while 79% thought the same about trans fats.

The web-based survey conducted by Cogent Research, Inc., Cambridge, Mass., involved 1,000 respondents.

In the United Soybean Board’s "Consumer Attitudes About Nutrition" survey, 6% viewed saturated fats as very or somewhat healthy while 9% viewed trans fats as very or somewhat healthy. The survey also asked consumers to choose which was healthier, saturated fat or trans fat. In 2008, 36% selected saturated fat and 17% selected trans fat, which compared with 2007 results of 42% for saturated fat and 16% for trans fat.

"The narrowing gulf between trans and saturated fat perception suggests the need for food companies to develop products low in both of these harmful types of fat," the United Soybean Board said.

An independent research firm conducted the study in February. It included 1,000 random surveys.