New research from Birds Eye has revealed that although 58% of Brits have more interest in eating well than a decade ago — with nearly a quarter (22%) of consumers saying they are much more likely to make an effort to minimise their intake of saturated fat, sugar, and salt compared to a decade ago — one in five still rate their diet as unhealthy.
At a time where an estimated 35 million people in the UK are suffering from obesity, Birds Eye’s ‘Better Health Impact’ report has found that consumers aren’t confident about making healthier choices, due to factors like cost and time pressures. The report therefore concludes there is a golden opportunity for the food industry to help the nation better their health by supporting and empowering consumers and providing access to accessible and nutritious food.
The report further revealed nearly 70% of people don’t eat five portions of fruit and veg a day, even though 52% say they try to, suggesting that good intentions are not always translating into action. Almost a third never check labels for fat and sugar, despite 40% selecting sugar as their main ingredient of concern.
Steve Challouma, General Manager at Birds Eye, said: “It is clear that consumers want to make healthier choices but many find it hard to do so, and this is down to a number of factors including time pressures, cost concerns, and a lack of confidence about how to make healthier choices. At Birds Eye, our focus is on helping the nation eat a little more goodness every day and we are committed to helping consumers turn their good intentions into a healthier reality.
“We know that the food industry needs to work together to support consumers, and through continued innovation and renovation, we have a golden opportunity to improve the health of the nation in the coming decade. This can be achieved by expanding healthy product ranges, innovating new healthier products, making nutritional improvements to the products we are currently offering and by gently nudging consumers towards more healthy and sustainable diets.”
Retailers and brands can support consumers in making healthier choices through improving the understanding and signposting of healthier options, stressed Birds Eye. For example, 39% of consumers are not confident they know the difference between the different types of fat and almost a third never check traffic light labels, the company estimates. Ahead of the HFSS restrictions coming into place next year, these findings therefore are particularly relevant for those considering how they can nutritionally optimise products and refocus their advertising efforts on healthier options.
Health by stealth
Across the decade, Birds Eye revealed it has moved to using mainly rapeseed and sunflower oils because of their healthy fatty acid profile. This company-wide approach to use lower saturated fat oils has improved Birds Eye products’ overall nutritional profile, including Fish Fingers, Chicken Nuggets and Potato Waffles, it said. It has also delivered significant salt reductions across its portfolio, with key successes including Birds Eye’s Cod Fish Fingers seeing a 21% reduction from 0.7g – 0.55g of salt/100g and Potato Waffles seeing a 28% reduction from 0.9 – 0.65g/100g throughout the decade.
Furthermore, Birds Eye is expanding