While most consumers know that there is a difference between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ cholesterol, the majority fail to identify which kind of cholesterol is considered bad for health, research funded by colour and nutraceutical company Lycored revealed.
In an online survey of UK consumers carried out earlier this year, 82% of respondents claimed that they are aware that there are two main forms of cholesterol – one considered ‘good’ and one considered ‘bad’. However, when asked which type of cholesterol is beneficial, 58% named LDL (low-density lipoprotein) rather than HDL (high-density lipoprotein).
High levels of oxidised-LDL cholesterol in the blood are associated with risk of cardiovascular disease. In contrast, high levels of HDL are associated with reduced risk of heart disease.
Need for education
Lycored said that the results highlight the responsibility of manufacturers to support consumer education.
"Most consumers understand that there’s 'good' cholesterol and 'bad' cholesterol, but beyond that, things get a bit hazy. Our research highlights the importance of educating consumers – not just selling to them,” head of marketing Zev Ziegler said.
Earlier this year, Lycored launched ‘Lycopedia’ – what it describes as an “interactive educational hub” to provide detailed information to consumers.
Ziegler told FoodNavigator that this is one part of Lycored’s education efforts, which also include face-to-face outreach.
“Companies should be looking at all the tools available to them to support consumer education. Online resources like Lycopedia are part of the picture, especially for people who are already engaged, but we try to be more proactive than that to get health messages out more widely.
“Ultimately, consumers are most likely to be receptive if you speak to them face to face. We hold an annual Heart and Soil Day, when our teams head out into their local communities and talk to them about health and wellness. So for example, we went to Paris and set up a “rainbow of fruit” stand to encourage passers-by to appreciate the healthy possibilities offered by fruit.”