British people think they are healthy eaters, but their shopping baskets say differently

Ben TobinYouGov PR Manager
October 29, 2015, 10:46 AM GMT+0

New YouGov research published in the Healthy Eating 2015 report highlights that many UK consumers may be incorrectly identifying themselves as healthy eaters, with the contents of their shopping trolley in fact portraying a different story.

Two thirds of respondents surveyed identified themselves as healthy eaters (64%). However, YouGov research shows that when it comes eating healthily, intentions do not always translate into actions.

Survey participants were divided into five groups according to the relative healthiness of the products that they had bought during their most recent grocery shop.

The largest group is the ‘middle of the road’, accounting for nearly four in ten shoppers. The most extreme groups are the smallest, with less than one in ten in each, while ‘not very healthy shoppers’ slightly outnumber fairly healthy shoppers.

The following chart looks at each group’s self-assessment of their own eating habits. The idea behind this exercise was to assess any correlation between healthy eating and healthy shopping.

There is evidence that for those who say they eat healthily this may not always reflect the reality. Only a third of ‘healthy eaters’ fall into the healthy shoppers categories. Indeed, 24% of self-assessed healthy eaters in fact are not healthy shoppers, according to their grocery shop.

One barrier to purchasing more healthy food is, perhaps as expected, price. Over a third (36%) of survey respondents said they are not prepared to pay any extra for healthy food. A fifth said that they would be willing to spend up to 5% more (i.e. 5p for every pound spent), 16% would be willing to spend up to 10% more. The least healthy shoppers are the most likely to be resistant to paying more, with 51% unwilling.

James McCoy, Research Director, YouGov Reports, commented on the findings: ‘’While our findings do show that the majority of UK consumers do recognise the importance of healthy eating, there is a strong suggestion that putting this into practise may be many people’s downfall.

However, it appears that price is the central motivating factor. With consumers still looking to get the best value possible at the supermarket, food manufacturers may have appeal to them in more creative and innovative ways.’’

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