safefood research shows positive shift in consumers attitudes towards healthy eating- ROI release

1 June, 2007. Research conducted by safefood has shown that there has been a positive shift in consumers’ attitudes towards healthy eating, with four in 10 (38%) consumers stating that they had made positive changes to their diets and a further four in 10 (39%) consumers expressing the intention to make changes to their diet in the near future.

Dr. Cliodhna Foley Nolan, safefood said, “Our research has shown that the message is getting through to consumers and the intention to make improvements to their diets is certainly evident. This is reassuring, as without intent, there can be no change in behaviour. What we are now encouraging consumers to do is move to the next stage, and translate their intention into actual behaviour, by choosing every day foods that have super nutritional properties”. 

safefood launched the second phase of its ‘Superfoods’ campaign earlier today, Tuesday, 5th June. The campaign is designed to reinforce the benefits of eating everyday foods and aims to encourage people, especially children to eat leaner meat, increase their intake of fruit and vegetables and switch to whole grains. These are all everyday foods that are easy to access and have “super” nutritional properties.

“The straightforward dietary changes that we are recommending could make a big difference to our health in the long run. This campaign is aimed particularly at children and their parents and guardians because it makes sense to start adopting healthy eating habits from a young age.”

On the island of Ireland, meat is one of the primary sources of salt and saturated fat, both of which have negative effects on heart health if eaten in high amounts. We tend not to distinguish between highly processed varieties and the healthier, leaner options. Meat is a great source of protein and iron so switching to lean, unprocessed types is a great way to cut down on salt and fat without missing out on essential nutrients.

“We want to show that healthy eating is not as complicated, or expensive as people think and that it’s right at our finger tips. It’s all about normal everyday foods that are not as “ordinary” as we think”, Dr Cliodhna Foley Nolan added.

Choosing foods that contain fibre, such as wholegrains, also boosts the nutritional quality of the diet, by providing fibre for a healthy gut and slow down the release of energy from foods. Swapping white bread for brown, or wholemeal bread, or choosing wholegrain cereals are practical changes that people can make. Fruit and vegetables also provide fibre and are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidant nutrients. While the health benefits of a diet high in fruit and vegetables are well known and can protect against diseases such as cancer and heart disease, only 20% of people on the Island of Ireland eat their recommended ‘five a day’ and consumption by children is particularly low.  

The second phase of the safefood ‘Superfoods’ campaign aims to engage children in healthy eating, through innovative TV advertisements, using fun, animated characters performing tasks to show the benefits of eating ‘Superfoods’ everyday.

Ends

For more information

Kate Slattery or Niamh Burdett    
WHPR       
Tel: 01 6690030      
086 387 3083 (Kate)
086 608 6764 (Niamh)

Fiona Gilligan
safefood
Tel: 01 4480600

¹ North/South Ireland Food Consumption Survey Irish Universities Nutrition Alliance Summary Report 2001.

Editor’s notes

Some examples of superfoods

  • Wholegrains such as whole grain bread, jacket potatoes, brown rice and oatmeal. These provide fibre for a healthy gut and slow down the release of energy from foods
  • All fruit and vegetables. These help to ensure that we get all the vitamins and minerals we need for good health. They also provide antioxidant nutrients to enhance natural defenses as well as soluble and insoluble fibre.
  • Lean meat. Meat is one of the main sources of saturated fat in our diets and processed meat is one of the main sources of salt. Choosing leaner cuts of red meat, as well as poultry and fish can reduce intakes of saturated fat and salt in Ireland and help maintain the population’s heart health.
  • On the island of Ireland the mean saturated fat intake is 14% of energy compared to the recommended intake of 11% of energy or less.
  • Salt intakes are in the region of 10 grams per day compared to the recommended intake of 6 grams or less per day.