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The Dating Game

The nation's grocery shoppers have one question to ask: What's new? In a recent survey released by trade association Grocery Manufacturers of America, paying attention to the freshness dating of food products was cited as the top up-and-coming trend in grocery shopping.

Although perennial favorites such as cereal and dairy products have long been judged according to their timeliness, a less likely candidate for the dating game-until recently, that is-has been soft drinks. But as the fervor over freshness spreads, don't be surprised to see an increasing range of manufacturers using product freshness as a selling point.

Of course, consumers aren't interested solely in food's freshness. The survey revealed shoppers also care about buying reduced-fat foods, as well as reading food labels. And-no surprise here-shoppers of all ages are in the market for meals that can be prepared in 20 minutes or less.

It's all a matter of time, isn't it?

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This article was originally published in the January 1996 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: The Dating Game.

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