Blog: It takes all sorts....

Catherine Sleep | 5 January 2006

Sugar giant Tate & Lyle recently released new findings from an ongoing research project into international consumer attitudes to diet, health and food issues. The researchers believe they’ve pinpointed some differences between consumers in the US and Europe. Neither group comes out of it particularly well, one appearing pathetically weak-willed, the other crushingly cynical.

Apparently, consumers in the US have a good understanding of what constitutes healthy eating, but struggle to put those principles into action. Some 75% of people want to eat more healthily, but 56% find it difficult to do so because of the options readily available to them. Staying away from the cookie jar is no cakewalk.

Meanwhile European consumers are becoming more aware of health and diet issues, and are increasingly sceptical of company claims. As many as 65% of consumers agree with the statement that “often brands that claim to be healthy aren’t healthy at all”.

This is pretty damning stuff. Manufacturers of junk food artfully marketed as healthful, beware! Shoppers are wising up to such ruses and this is a good thing. An informed shopper can contribute to a meaningful dialogue with the people who make and distribute the food they buy. You cannot make people choose the healthy option, but you can at least make it clear what the healthy options are, and the onus to do this will lie even more clearly with food manufacturers and retailers in 2006 than hitherto.

More on the survey findings here


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