‘Mindless eating’ in Britain spells opportunity for industry, says National Obesity Forum
The Weight Watchers-commissioned research suggest that that on average, consumers in Britain eat 1,270kg of food a year – 384kg more than needed.
It said consumers are ‘mindless eating’ – only aware of 15 out of 220 food and drink choices a day.
Weight Watchers said ‘fatty spreads’ like butter and margarine-types are the “biggest offender” of overconsumption, with the average Brit eating seven times more than the recommended amount on a weekly basis.
Consumers also eat four times too much meat, three times too many biscuits and cakes and twice the amount of bread recommended each week. Fruit and vegetable consumption is below what is needed with Britons eating 69% less fruit and 75% less vegetables.
A big opportunity
Chair of the National Obesity Forum Professor David Haslam said these findings, while a little selective, outline a big opportunity for food and beverage manufacturers.
“The opportunity for dietetic food and drink products has never been greater,” Haslam told FoodNavigator.
“The food and beverage industry needs to make changes gradually but quickly. These need to be small changes but they have to get a move on. There is no excuse for excess sugars in breakfast cereals, breads or juices for example.”
Haslam said manufacturers have an important role to play in the battle against obesity and overconsumption in Britain as well as a level of responsibility. However, he added that industry action only contributed a part of a broader solution that must involve everyone.
Barbara Gallani, director of food safety, science and health for the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) agreed that industry must not be alone in its role against obesity and overconsumption.
“The scale of the problem means that there is no one solution; people need to take personal responsibility for the food they eat, and food businesses need to help them make healthier choices. Food manufacturers already provide clear on pack nutrition labelling and a range of options to help people make a healthier choice, from reformulation of standard products to ‘reduced’ varieties.”
‘More does need to be done’
Gallani admitted that more does need to be done but said this is why manufacturers are working in partnership with the government, health organisations, NGOs and other stakeholders as part of the Public Health Responsibility Deal to further improve choice for consumers.
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