ARLINGTON, VA. — Fifty-eight per cent of household shoppers are eating whole grains in an effort to ensure their diet is healthy, up 4 percentage points from the previous year’s survey, according to the 2010 National Grocers Association Consumer Panel Survey. The annual consumer survey, which is sponsored by the N.G.A., ConAgra Foods, Inc. and the, examined detailed responses from 2,438 chief household shoppers between November 2009 and early January 2010.

While eating more whole grains ranked as the No. 4 strategy taken by people to ensure a healthier diet, several other responses were of note for the grain-based foods industry. According to the survey, 53% said they are eating more fiber, up from 47% in 2009, and 9% said they are eating more starches (pasta, beans, rice), up from 8% in 2009. The top response to the question was “more fruits/vegetables,” which 84% of those surveyed said they are doing to ensure a healthy diet.

Of concern to the grain-based foods industry was the 35% who said they are eating less bread, up from 34% in 2009. This compared with 48% who said they are drinking less soda, 33% who are eating less meat, and 11% who are eating less dairy products.

When it comes to shopping, more than 75% of consumers surveyed said they value a high-quality bakery. Thirty-eight per cent said a high-quality bakery is a “very important” feature, up from 36% in 2009. Only 8% said a high-quality bakery is “not at all important.”