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Canadians to find a healthy diet is too expensive: report

19 September 2009 1,806 views No Comment

Canadians consider obesity to be a serious health threat but many middle- and lower-income families are limited when it comes to providing healthy meals for their children, according to Bensimon Byrne’s latest “Consumerology Report,” released yesterday.

The national survey, conducted by Gandalf Group on behalf of the Toronto-based agency, revealed that high food costs are preventing Canadians from eating healthily.

According to the report, 55% of Canadian families cite cost as the largest barrier to healthy eating, followed by insufficient willpower, availability of healthy foods, lack of time and inconvenience.

“Consumerology this quarter reveals that food and nutrition is a significant concern in this country,” said Jack Bensimon, president of Bensimon Byrne. “Canadians are worried about processed food ingredients and obesity, and are actively looking for ways to eat healthier.”

Local, natural, whole and unprocessed foods emerged as the most motivating attributes for consumers when they look for healthy food options.

The local food movement has gained a strong following and is seen to be the healthiest. Of those surveyed, 96% felt very positive about the availability of local products in restaurants and at grocery stores.

Canadians middle-aged and older view food additives and production methods involving sodium, hormones, preservatives, antibiotics and food contamination as a greater threat to health than younger respondents. However, younger Canadians are more concerned about obesity and lack of physical activity.

According to the report, consumers are paying close attention to health and nutritional information on packages, and 83% of Canadians expressed a level of confidence in nutritional claims.

Though most consumers are aware of Canada’s Food Guide and have confidence in its recommendations, they find it difficult to follow the Guide. Only 7% of Canadians are not at all aware of the Food Guide. Canadians are more concerned with what they eat each day than they are about swine flu, or poor health care from providers; two-thirds of respondents consider obesity to be a serious threat to them or their family.

Copyright © 2009 by Rogers Publishing Limited. All rights reserved

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