Fabian Demicoli

What determines the nutrition knowledge of food across Europe?

Researchers from Aarhus University and EUFIC have analysed nutrition knowledge of food shoppers from six EU countries: UK, Sweden, France, Germany, Poland, and Hungary. Main findings include social grade, country of residence and age to directly influence participants' nutrition knowledge. Furthermore, older people, women and respondents of a higher socio-economic status showed a more active interest in healthy eating.

Overall, the UK had the highest nutrition knowledge, which was expected due to its number of nutrition education campaigns. One exception was knowledge about the sugar content of foods, which was higher in Germany, Hungary, and Poland.

In conclusion, consumers are aware of nutrition recommendations but less familiar with technicalities such as types of fat or the link between salt and sodium. Higher social grades have higher nutrition knowledge likely because of higher education. In general, all shoppers had trouble determining the calorie content of certain foods.

Each country differed in its strengths and weaknesses – differences which are likely due to different cultures and foods as well as the number and type of nutrition-related public health campaigns. In each country there are also different industry and retail initiatives that can affect nutrition knowledge.

 

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