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Mothers distrust Britain’s £92bn-a-year food industry and want to see a crackdown on unhealthy products, according to recent research.
A national survey by baby and toddler food brand Organix found widespread suspicion among mums about the honesty of marketing claims made for children’s food.
While parents try to choose nutritious meals for their children, most said it was hard to make the right choices – and wanted clearer labelling. A third of parents struggled to understand the ingredients in products.
The survey of mothers across the UK found:
• Fewer than one in 10 (8%) surveyed say they trust the food industry to make safe healthy food.
• Three quarters (74%) say that many foods claiming to be healthy are actually high in salt, fat and sugar
• Two thirds (65%) want more regulation to ensure that food targeted at children is healthy and nutritious.
The survey, conducted by Mumpanel in April 2014, asked mums of children aged 6 months to 5 years about their eating habits and their view of the food industry.
Organix is releasing it to make the launch of the company’s ‘No Junk Challenge,’ which challenges parents to cook for their family using real ingredients for one week (28 April to 4 May). www.organix.com/nojunk.
The research shows parents desperately want to improve the quality of the food they feed their children.
Despite the food industry’s claims to have made their products healthier, nearly half of best-selling children’s brands are high in fat, salt and sugar. Some breakfast cereals aimed at children contain as much as 37g of sugar per 100g.
National surveys in England suggest about three in 10 children aged between two and 15 are overweight – and four times as many children and teenagers are admitted to hospital for obesity-related conditions than a decade ago. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/
The Organix survey found:
• Nine out of 10 (90%) of Mums think children eat too much junk food
• Two thirds (67%) are concerned about artificial additives in food targeted at children
• Six out of 10 (60%) are shocked by the amount of sugar found in savoury foods
• More than six (62%) out of 10 think food labelling should be much clearer
• More than a third (37%) say they don't understand what half of the ingredients on the back of the packet mean.
Anna Rosier, Managing Director of Organix, said: “We know that parents want to give their children good, healthy and nutritious food - but it’s not always easy to make good choices.
“Our children are targeted with foods that are often high in salt, fat and sugar and it feels like you need a special qualification to understand all the ingredients and E numbers.
“We’re calling for the Government and the food industry to provide stricter controls on the levels of added salt, fat and sugar and artificial additives in children’s food. We also need clear, easy to understand labelling that will help parents choose the best for their children.”
Ms Rosier, who is available for interview, added: “Parents who want to see just how much healthier their children’s meals can take part in the No Junk Challenge – and learn how to identify a Dirty Dozen ingredients.”
Organix website will have fun ctivities show parents what is in the food, and simple recipes to try out at home.
“Processed food often contains lots of additives to preserve it, unnecessary artificial colours to make it more appealing, and/or extra salt or sugar to make cheap ingredients tastier. The amount of salt in processed food can make children's diets way higher than the recommended maximum of 2g per day for a three-year-old,” says Dr Frankie Phillips, children's nutrition expert and dietitian.
“Snacks designed for older children and adults - even those marketed as 'healthy' - can contain far more salt and sugar than is good for a toddler. As a nutritionist and mum of four girls, I look at labels myself and really think about what they mean, so make as much as I can from scratch and then I know exactly what I'm giving my own family is simply full of goodness.”
A ready meals generation is being raised with parents dedicating less than 30 minutes a day to cooking and meal preparation.
•New survey reveals worrying cooking habits of parents • 20% of parents spend less than half an hour preparing food every day • 14% feed their children ready meals more than once a week •10% admit to regularly choosing calorie laden takeaways over cooking
From preparing the morning breakfast and packed lunch to making the evening dinner, a significant amount of any parents’ time is traditionally spent making sure their children are well fed.
But the increasingly busy lifestyles of modern parents means that healthy home cooked food is being sidelined in favour of processed ready meals, dinners out and takeaways.
The findings, from a new survey by kitchen company larkandlarks.co.uk in co-operation with babynames.co.uk, reveals that 20% of parents will spend less than 30 minutes in their kitchen on an average day. 58% of parents spend less than an hour on preparing meals for their families.
Only 15% of parents said they spend over 1.5 hours preparing food in the kitchen, with over half of those surveyed admitted to spending less than an hour in the most important room in the house.
Time spent in the kitchen has reduced by 50% over the past 20 years, particularly for women, who are taking an increasingly diminished role in the kitchen. However, the consequences for children’s nutrition could take a large toll.
If time isn’t spent cooking food from scratch in the kitchen, what exactly are children being fed? 14% of those polled said they fed their family more than one ready meal a week. Just over 10% said they regularly eat out at restaurants to avoid the kitchen, and 10% admitted to more than one takeaway a week.
With over half of the UK predicted to be obese by 2030, and with government research revealing that 9.3% of children in Reception (4-5 years old) were obese, increasing to 18.9% for children in year 6 (10-11 years old), the childhood obesity epidemic is reaching catastrophic heights.
Packaging Impact And Optimisation Assessment Tool Launched
MMR Research Worldwide (MMR) is partnering with ZappiStore, the automated online market research platform, for the launch of its new Impackt Lite™ packaging research service.
Brandowners, packaging designers and packaging manufacturers can assess the impact of new packaging designs and optimise their new packs prior to launch, by conducting targeted surveys via the ZappiStore web-based service (www.zappistore.com/). This is complementary to MMR's existing suite of consumer insight tools and it is hoped that this will increase the use of research in the packaging innovation process.
The Impackt Lite™ self-service research offer has been carefully put together to MMR's specification to provide clients with a limited but scientifically robust, quantitative and accurate method for assessing likely success.
"MMR sees the offer of Impackt Lite™, via ZappiStore, as a ground-breaking addition to the suite of research options available and a response to particular client situations where budgets are tight and timelines short," says Mat Lintern, global MD of MMR Research Worldwide. "While our focus remains directed at accurate and high quality research getting to the very heart of consumer decision making, MMR is always open to embracing opportunities where advanced technology can help to make the right solutions available to a wider audience at low cost and within rapid timescales.
"We hope that the availability of Impackt Lite™ will lead to a rapid increase in early stage packaging research and help keep pack change projects on track, reduce lead times and most importantly, will help our clients use the voice of the consumer to make better decisions," concludes Lintern.
In a simple process, customers are asked to upload the packaging designs to be tested, customise an in-built advanced questionnaire, and finally choose the sample size and definition to invite the right people to participate. As soon as this is confirmed, the research starts immediately behind the scenes. The data is analysed via an automated process built to MMR's design. A comprehensive report is made available to the client via a web-based dashboard giving clear summaries of the findings that can be easily and confidently interpreted by client or agency-based marketing and research teams. At all times, the client can choose to ask for support from MMR researchers, who will then provide advice, online, by telephone, or with a more comprehensive full service approach, if required.
Impackt Lite™ is available now in UK, USA, France, Germany, China & Japan - with the possibility to extend into Australia and Canada in the future. It is available directly to ZappiStore customers as well as part of MMR's full service offer to its own clients.
The service is complementary to MMR's existing suite of services covering product, packaging, concept and retail parts of the marketing mix across all its cores sectors of food, beverage, personal & household care. All MMR's existing methods continue to be available, including face to face research, eye-tracking and facial coding techniques.