Healthy and Sustainable Diets: Consumer Poll
The Food Standards Agency with Ipsos MORI carried out a consumer poll in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to understand consumer behaviours and attitudes in relation to healthy and sustainable diets.
In August 2021, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) with Ipsos MORI collected survey data from consumers on their attitudes towards healthy and sustainable diets. The survey explores consumer’s views about their own diets, desire to change their diet, barriers to making their diet healthier/more sustainable and their views about who should be responsible for improving the health or sustainability of diets in the UK. This report provides a summary of the survey data.
Consumer views on healthy diets
Most consumers believe they know what a healthy diet consists of (75%) and understand the impact that their diet has on their health (78%). An even greater proportion (87%) think it is important for them to eat a healthy diet, although only 65% reported that what they eat is ‘healthy’.
Over 3 in 5 consumers agreed that they would like to change their diet to make it healthier (63%); with 68% agreeing that they would like to eat more fruit and vegetables and 61% wanting to reduce their calorie intake. Despite this, 77% of participants could identify at least one barrier (when prompted) that stopped them from eating a healthier diet, with the cost of healthier foods being the most commonly reported barrier (33%).
Consumer views on sustainable diets
Just under half of consumers believe they know what a sustainable diet consists of (48%) with marginally more reporting that they understand the impact their diet has on the environment (51%). Despite this, nearly three-quarters (73%) think it is important for them to buy food that has a low environmental impact, but just 49% considered their personal diet to be environmentally sustainable.
Over half of respondents agreed that they would like to improve their diet to make it more sustainable (54%). Views on meat and dairy consumption are more polarising; 41% of respondents agreed they would like to eat less meat, but 34% disagreed, whilst 33% agreed they would like to eat less dairy, but 34% disagreed.
When prompted, 71% of participants could identify at least one barrier that stopped them from eating a sustainable diet. The cost of sustainable foods was the most commonly reported barrier (29%), whilst 16% reported that a lack of understanding about what is/isn’t sustainable was a barrier to a more sustainable diet.