safefood to make ‘superfoods’ heroes for children this summer

'Everyday' foods are nutritional 'heroes'

Earlier today, 31 May, 2008, safefood launched the second phase of its ‘Superfoods’ campaign, designed to raise awareness of the nutritional benefits of eating foods we might consider to be ordinary. The campaign aims to encourage everyone, especially children, to eat leaner meat, to increase their intake of fruit and vegetables and to switch to wholegrains -  everyday foods that have ‘super’ nutritional properties.

The new campaign which uses fun, cartoon animation to show the ‘super’ properties of everyday foods such as lean chicken, peas, bananas and wholegrain bread aims to build on the success of the first phase of the ‘Superfoods’ campaign.

Dr. Cliodhna Foley Nolan, Director of Human Health & Nutrition, safefood explains: “Following the launch of our ‘Superfoods’ campaign last year, our research shows that 7 in 10 consumers said that the campaign told them something they didn’t already know. There’s an encouraging shift in people’s awareness when it comes to healthy eating and safefood are continuing to support this with a new campaign which will show how easily superfoods can be incorporated in our daily diets, and that healthy eating is not as complicated or expensive as we might think.

Outlining the ongoing need for campaigns such as ‘Superfoods’, Dr Foley Nolan continued: “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 and we tend not to distinguish between highly processed varieties and 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.

“Choosing foods that contain fibre such as wholegrains also boosts the nutritional quality of the diet by providing a slower release of energy from them as well as benefiting gut health. Swapping white bread for brown or wholemeal 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. And 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.  

”These 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 guardians because it makes sense to start adopting healthy eating habits from a young age.”

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

Sarah Young or Leanne McCarroll  
IAS SMARTS      
028 9039 5500 

Fiona Gilligan
safefood
03531 669 0030      

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.