Arla blog

Food for thought

Scary new statistics should be our call to end food confusion

It’s a scary statistic that shocked me. 4 in 5 Northern Europeans do not know about the nutrients they have in their diet. 

Good nutrition that forms a healthy, balanced diet is the cornerstone of good health. At Arla, we released some new research that uncovered some concerning statistics about consumers’ perceptions, attitudes and views to both food and nutrition generally and specifically around dairy. Over 7,000 people in five European countries took part in the survey, which highlights that food confusion is not restricted by borders, language or culture. The commonalities are clear to see, with nutrition knowledge gaps across all markets when it comes to understanding what food we should, and do consume. 

As a CMO in a dairy company, it’s also a concern to see that half of people don’t recog-nise dairy as a single source of protein, calcium, vitamins and minerals when at the same time 40 per cent of people feel they are missing essential nutrients in their diet. These nutrients are vital for a varied, well balanced diet that contributes to a healthy lifestyle. 

As the research shines a spotlight on the lack of knowledge we have about our food, actually are we just confused and misinformed?

The irony in this of course is that we live in a world where there is more information readily available about health, diet and food than we’ve ever had before. We are faced with an overwhelming amount of information in the press, on social media platforms and from the people around us that it’s understandable we don’t know what and who to believe.

There are also more healthy food choices than we’ve ever had before. Yet, as a global population we are more unhealthy than ever before. The World Health organisation states that obesity affects every country in the world. It is a major public health challenge and with vitamin and mineral deficiencies still prevalent around the world, something must change to make a better food future for the younger generations. 

We at Arla believe that good food habits are the key to unlocking a healthy lifestyle and balanced diet. We call it food literacy. Understanding where it comes from, the role it plays in our health and how we can prepare healthy meals. And this must be improved if we are going to help current and future generations make better food choices. 

In a world where our eating habits are changing, the demands of modern life mean that more than ever, we no longer consume meals in the ‘traditional’ way and this is reflected in the food we eat.  We need to enable consumers and their children to build strong lifetime eating habits. We recognise our responsibility and the role we can play in making a better future.  We have a number of initiatives such as food camps, where young teenagers can learn about food, where it comes from, how to cook good food that will help them form good food habits to last a lifetime. Together with our passion to create affordable, nutritious products, we hope that we can be part of the solution. 

It’s a global challenge and a big challenge but we can all make a difference. We need to make more sense in the health debate. If everyone does a little bit to build food literacy then we can avoid the myths and misconceptions that currently flood our news feeds. 

And then maybe the statistics won’t be so scary. 

To find out more about the research and Arla’s latest information on health and nutrition, visit the healthy living pages on our website here.

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