by Professor Ross Kingwell, AEGIC Chief Economist
A large survey of food consumers reveals many consumers are uncertain about what foods deliver sustainability. By contrast many of these same consumers are more confident in choosing foods to bolster their health.
An on-line chart from McKinsey and Co caught my eye recently. It came from a large survey of food consumers in four highly developed countries in 2022. The charts below are based on responses from 8,193 survey participants in the four countries, UK, France, USA and Germany.
Chart 1 summarises survey responses in the to the statement: It’s hard to understand what foods are best for me.
The majority of European respondents were confident that they understood what foods delivered nutritional and health benefits to them as consumers. Only in the USA did more respondents consider that it was hard to understand what foods were best choices for them as consumers. For consumers who were confident in their food choices that promoted health, they were reducing their consumption of processed foods and sugar (their top concerns), as well as fat, salt, and, for some, red meat.
But then, people were asked their responses to the statement: It’s hard to understand what food choices are sustainable.
Chart 2 reveals that only in Germany were a large majority of respondents confident that they understood what food choices were sustainable. In the other three countries about half of all respondents considered it was difficult to know what food choices would help deliver or support sustainability.
Overall, people seemed more sure about what food choices deliver nutritional and health benefits. They are less sure about what food choices support or deliver sustainability. Hence, there is a need to inform and educate consumers about what sustainability comprises and how food choices can support or enhance that sustainability.
Banner image: healthy AEGIC oat noodles
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