Brits admit to confusion over food labelling

Brits admit to confusion over food labelling
Credit: Shutterstock.com/ Danicek

More than three quarters of British consumers do not understand the daily recommended levels of salt, fat and sugar consumption, according to a nationwide survey.

The survey was undertaken by Spoon Guru – a company using AI technology to transform food discovery.

It found that just 22% of shoppers think they can confidently decipher the value of nutrients in food – with an opportunity for retailers to offer new tools to improve transparency.

The study, which looked into the spending habits of UK consumers and motivations for purchasing decisions over the past year, highlighted that 46% of shoppers would like retailers to do more to encourage healthy eating.

This includes 54% of Brits wanting retailers to produce clearer food labels on packaging and shelves; 34% would like taste tests to help discover healthy foods; 33% want healthy recipes; and 15% would like further education through the use of in-store nutritionists, cooking courses or apps.

Better health is definitely on the minds of consumers, with a third of Brits (34%) afraid of developing serious health-related illnesses and 1 in 10 (14%) respondents admitting they fear an early death due to an unhealthy diet.

As a result, 67% of those surveyed stated they have tried to improve their health and wellbeing in the last 12 months – however, the study suggests they may be failing.

Looking into reasons why Brits are failing to eat healthier, the research found that 33% of UK consumers are now using sugar substitutes. These include honey and maple syrup (17%), Stevia (11%), as well as Agave Nectar and Coconut Sugar (11%) – with Brits still consuming high levels of sugar and calories.

Additionally, 39% of shoppers who say that they are making healthier choices, are still adding sugar to their hot drinks.

To encourage healthy eating, UK consumers want  retailers to provide lower costs on healthy options; more promotions of healthy products; better placement of healthy foods in-store; suggestions on healthy food swaps, and healthy snacks by the checkout.

“Brits are trying to adopt healthier diets, however, there is a need for further clarity around nutrition. In particular, how to manage fat, salt, and sugar intake to prevent health-related illnesses,” said Markus Stripf, co-founder and CEO of Spoon Guru.

“What is also clear from the research is that consumers are open to exploring the ways technology can assist in food discovery.

“The good news is that retailers have already become early adopters of innovative technology to help customers.”