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Research project

Eating Well Choosing Better Tracking Survey - Wave 6

Northern Ireland specific

The Eating Well Choosing Better (EWCB) Tracking Survey monitors understanding and knowledge of recommended daily calorie intake, use of traffic light labels, attitudes towards reformulation and calorie information, and awareness of campaign communications delivered by the Food Standards Agency in Northern Ireland. This report presents the findings from the sixth survey conducted between June and August 2020.

Last updated: 13 March 2021
Last updated: 13 March 2021


We have been monitoring the impact of the EWCB programme through a consumer tracking survey since November 2017. The purpose of this programme is to improve the nutritional quality of everyday food and drink produced, served and sold to consumers in Northern Ireland.

Research Approach

The EWCB survey is completed annually by a representative sample (approximately 600 adults) of the Northern Ireland population. The sixth wave of the survey was conducted using a combination of Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing and Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing. Significance testing was completed to identify any differences in the views, attitudes and behaviours by demographic variables including age, gender, social class and household income. Demographic differences have been reported where statistically significant differences occur at the 5% level.


Key findings from the Wave 6 survey: 

  • 31% of women and 21% of men are aware of the correct recommended daily calorie intake for their gender.
  • Many respondents (65%) look at some form of nutritional labelling on food packaging to find information on calorie, saturated fat, sugar and salt when food shopping.
  • The majority of those surveyed would like to see increased availability of food reduced in sugar (66%), fat (59%) and salt (56%) when food shopping.
  • 91% of respondents recognised the traffic light label and 56% report using this label when food shopping.
  • The majority of respondents found it difficult to choose healthier food in takeaways (83%), leisure facilities such as cinemas and bowling alleys (77%), fast food restaurants (73%) and vending machines (61%). 
  • Over 45% of respondents would like to see calorie information on menus in fast food restaurants (51%), takeaways (48%) and restaurants and bars (47%).
  • Females and older age groups (35-54 and 55 years and over) are significantly more likely to report they actively seek out healthier options when food shopping and eating outside the home compared to males and younger people (18-34 years).
Research report

Northern Ireland