UK consumers have yet to fully grasp even the basics of nutrition, and 93% find the information of food packaging too complicated to understand, according to a new “eat smart” survey of 1,000 food shoppers.

An enormous 75% of those questioned were unaware of what RDA (recommended daily allowance) means on food packaging. Some of the answers included guesses at Royal Dramatic Art or Regional Development Agency.

Furthermore, around a third of those quizzed admitted that it was more important to them to eat what they like and not gain weight than either learn a second language or improve their IQ.

The British Nutrition Foundation responded to the findings by suggesting that research is needed to see what information shoppers would find most useful on food labels. A spokeswoman told the BBC: “We know that […] the best way to achieve a healthy diet is to fill up on starchy staples and fruit and vegetables, and then add some dairy and protein foods with just a few of the fatty and sugary foods.

“Following this advice doesn’t necessitate reading the labels in detail.”

She added, however: “Of course, for some people, such as those with specific medical conditions, like those with nut allergies, reading the label is a real necessity, and so the information is needed on the label.”

The survey may prove alarming to the UK government, which laid out health targets in the £96m (US$135.5mm) white paper, Saving Lives – Our Healthier Nation. Through education and healthy diets, the govenmnt is hoping to prevent 300,000 unnecessary deaths through illnesses such as heart disease and cancer by 2010.