Food literacy lacking among majority of consumers

Food literacy lacking among majority of consumers
Credit: Shutterstock.com/ NaturalBox

There’s a big knowledge gap when it comes to our understanding about food, with 40% of consumers admitting they feel lacking in some of the essentials.

Research from Arla Foods draws on insights from more than 7,000 people across Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Finland and the UK.

It reveals that a quarter of people skip a meal, even though they are hungry. 37% of this group cite saving time as the most common reason, yet 60% of people questioned do not recognise that many dairy products are a single natural source of vitamins and minerals.

The findings highlight that despite more people wanting to lead a healthier life (51% state they see themselves as a healthy eater) there is still uncertainty when it comes to knowing exactly what we should consume.

A better understanding of what is in the food we eat will make it easier to buy and shop for a healthy and balanced diet for people of all ages.

Hanne Søndergaard, CMO at Arla Foods, said: “It’s clear from the research that there is still a lot to educate consumers on when it comes to nutrition.

“The demand to live healthier lives is constantly increasing yet we can only do this when we truly understand our food and the impact that food has on our body.

“Food literacy needs to be improved so people can compose meals which are rich and varied in essential nutrients.”

Confusion by country

When it comes to how the countries stack up, 2 in 3 Brits wrongly think there is more than 10% fat in whole milk, when actually it only contains under 4%. In Finland, more than a third believe the fat content in milk to be more than 10%.

Food confusion is prevalent across European countries, with three quarters of people in Sweden not recognising dairy products as a source of protein.

In Denmark 1 in 3 people cut a specific food from their diet. For Germans, a quarter only eat one main meal a day, highlighting why almost half of the nation might feel they may be lacking in key vitamins and nutrients.

A common theme across Northern Europeans is the desire to reduce the amount of sugar. A third of people across Denmark, Sweden, Finland, UK and Germany admit to cutting out a specific food, with 40% of those saying they aim to omit sugar from what they eat.

Despite this, Arla Foods sees this deficit of knowledge as an opportunity with Mr Søndergaard adding: “As one of the world’s leading dairy companies, we can develop improved products and new initiatives that can inspire better health in everyday life.

“This means that we have both a responsibility and opportunity to make a difference to global diet-related health challenges.”