Big nutrient knowledge gap uncovered by new research

Image: Arla Foods

The demand to live a healthier lifestyle is increasing, yet 4 in 5 people across Northern Europe do not know about the essential nutrients they have in their diet, according to new research published by Arla Foods.

The insights of more than 7,000 people across Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Finland and the UK revealed that a quarter of people skip a meal, even though they are hungry, with 23% of this group believing it will help with weight loss, and 37% citing it saves time.

Concerningly, 60% of people questioned do not recognise that many dairy products are a single natural source of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, protein, B vitamins.

The findings highlighted 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 they 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.

“Consumers are constantly demanding new experiences from their food and new trends are emerging all the time. Our vision is firmly rooted in bringing the nutritional benefits of milk into exciting concepts that meet these demands and ultimately help them understand how dairy can be part of a balanced and healthy lifestyle.”

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%, with semi-skimmed even lower at around 1.7%. 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. As a responsible food producer, Arla recognises its role in helping people live a healthier life, through our nutrition criteria. These are the guiding principles that support Arla branded products, to make sure that the good stuff in milk is retained whilst limiting the amount of added sugar, fat and salt.

“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,” said Hanne.

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