Which magazine reports that the credit crunch may be affecting our waistbands as well as our wallets, Although 4 out of 5 people want to follow a healthy diet, the current economic climate is yet another barrier to good intentions.
Around 28 million UK adults say that price has become more important when choosing foods since the financial downturn.
Nearly three in five agreed that they would buy more fruit and vegetables if they were cheaper, and almost a quarter said that the economic crisis had made healthier eating less of a priority.
The research comes as Which? launches Hungry For Change?, a report that looks at the efforts of UK governments and the food industry to help consumers make healthier choices over the last five years.
Despite an intense amount of debate about obesity and diet, 76 per cent of people still think the government needs to take action to make it easier to choose healthier options. Consumers also want more action from manufacturers, retailers and particularly caterers. Just one in three people thought restaurants, cafes and pubs made healthy choices easy.
There have been some positive initiatives, such as salt restrictions and improvements in the quality of school meals, however, the report highlights the significant problems that remain from confusing health and nutrition claims on products that are packed with salt, sugar or fat to the continuing poor quality of hospital food.
Sue Davies, Chief Policy Adviser, Which? said:
“People want to make healthier choices, but it’s not easy. As the credit crunch bites it’s important that government and industry aren’t distracted. They can’t be allowed to put the fight against obesity on hold.
“We want to see a dramatic increase in the pace of action in all areas, so barriers to healthy eating can be removed and people can at last put their good intentions into practise.”
If you would like a copy of Hungry for Change, please contact Kate Turnbull 02077707582.
* Which? surveyed 2,102 adults aged 16+ in the UK from 14 – 18 January 2009. Results were weighted to be representative of adults aged 16+ in the UK.
** 56 per cent of UK adults agreed that price is a more important factor when choosing foods since the recent financial downturn. The 28 million figure is a simple estimate that multiplies the number of adults aged 16+ in the UK by the percentage agreeing – 49 million x 56 per cent. A 95 per cent confidence interval on this calculation gives the value between 26.6 and 28.7 million, with a mid point of 27.7 million, rounded to 28 million).
*** 57 per cent of UK adults agreed that they would buy more fruit and veg / healthier options if they were cheaper; 24 per cent agree that the recent financial downturn has made healthier eating less of a priority for them.
What is Hungry For Change?
> Five years ago, Which? called for dramatic action in response to escalating rates of obesity and diet-related disease. A list of twelve demands to government and industry were published, setting out practical steps that would start to address the food side of this epic problem, making it easier for people to make healthier food choices.
Hungry For Change reviews the progress that has been made by governments across the United Kingdom, considers the response that has come from food companies, highlights new consumer research and examples of industry best practice, and looks at what action still needs to be taken.
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