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Britons Put On Weight After Skipping Meals Survey Reveals
A new survey has revealed just how busy Britons’ lives have become, disclosing a telling new statistic that the average Briton skips as many as 260 meals per year.
Breakfast is the most likely meal to get missed, with the majority of Britons confessing that they just don’t ‘have time to eat’ in the mornings.
The survey was conducted by Huel (www.huel.me), a nutritionally complete powdered food product, as part of their research into consumer habits and attitudes towards nutrition in the UK. 2,829 British adults took part in the survey, all of whom were aged 18 years old or older. All participants were all in full-time employment at the time of the survey.
Initially, all respondents were asked to identify how many meals they skipped in an average week, including Saturday and Sunday. They were able to provide the answer ‘0’ if relevant. The team calculated that the average respondent skipped 3 breakfasts, one lunch and one dinner per week.
Extended across the whole year, this would mean that the average Briton skips 260 meals per year; 156 of these being breakfasts, with a further 52 a piece for lunch and dinner.
All relevant respondents who stated they’d missed at least one meal per week were then asked to reveal all the reasons why. The most common answers were given as follows: 1. I don’t have time to eat – 82% 2. I forget to eat meals – 73% 3. I can’t be bothered to cook/prepare food – 68% 4. I am not very good at cooking/preparing food – 56% 5. I prefer to snack rather than eat meals – 41%
When asked if they had suffered any adverse effects from skipping meals, more than two thirds of respondents (68%) confessed they had. The majority of these felt they had ‘gained weight’ due to overcompensating after missing meals (57%), while some also felt ‘short-tempered and/or irritable’ (43%) and ‘generally less healthy’ (35%).
Julian Hearn, Founder of Huel, commented: “Food is a great thing which many of us enjoy – but in our everyday routines, we can’t always set aside time, attention and energy to dedicate to our mealtimes. On a typical weekday, it’s not unusual to just grab a coffee while dashing out the door or work through lunch without even realising. Our busy lifestyles, however, are not good for us. If we skip meals we often end up over-compensate later with sugary foods later as our energy levels sag.”
He continued: “We Britons are clued-up on what we should be doing and eating; we know what a healthy lifestyle looks like but, for many of us, it just doesn’t quite fit as much as we want it to. I found myself in those same shoes of wanting to put my health and body first, just not having the time or facilities to do so when I most needed to. This way of thinking is behind our whole venture, and it’s why I decided to come up with a new solution which would be 100% convenient and available on the go with minimal fuss.”
Gluten Free Leads “Free From” Surge Into Mainstream
Interest in free-from foods is continuing to rise globally, led by the growing availability of gluten-free lines in particular.
Products positioned on a gluten-free platform accounted for 10% of total global food and drinks launches recorded by Innova Market Insights in the 12 months to the end of April 2015, rising to over 18% in the US.
“This is partly due to improved labelling regulations,” reports Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights “but also to rising awareness of gluten intolerance in the diet and the development of more mainstream and good-tasting gluten-free products across a whole range of food and drinks sectors.”
Key areas for activity in recent years have been in bakery and cereal products and snack foods, largely because of rising demand for alternatives to the relatively high number of gluten-containing lines in these sectors or because of the availability of alternative gluten-free ingredients.
The cereal products market, encompassing breakfast cereals and cereal bars, is relatively well set up to cater to the gluten-free trend, with numerous non-gluten cereal options already available. As a result of this and the relatively concentrated nature of the market, it is perhaps not surprising that the share of gluten-free launches in the cereals market is much higher than the average of the food and drinks market as a whole at 21%, rising to an amazing 43% in the US.
Interestingly, despite being one of the product categories most strongly associated with wheat and thus gluten, the bakery products sector has a slightly lower than average share of gluten-free launches recorded, at 9%, perhaps partly reflecting the diversity of the sector and the high levels of new product activity overall. The actual number of gluten-free bakery launches has nonetheless risen consistently in recent years. Biscuits account for the largest number of gluten-free bakery launches, with over 40%, equivalent to 8% of total biscuit introductions, while bread has less than 16% of gluten-free bakery launches, but this is equivalent to 9% of total bread introductions.
The snacks market is also seeing a relatively high proportion of launches featuring gluten-free claims, averaging 13% globally, but rising to over 42% in the US. In terms of product and market development, the snacks market benefits particularly from the fact that many basic snacks ingredients, such as potatoes, corn, soy and nuts, are naturally gluten-free, so it is a claim that is relatively easy to achieve in many instances. Ingredients used to replace wheat or other cereals and offer a gluten-free formulation over the past few years have included lentils, black beans, navy beans, cassava, brown rice, nuts, sweet potatoes and a wide variety of other vegetables.
Many other areas of the food and drinks market are also seeing rising levels of interest in gluten-free reformulations, or even in just emphasizing the gluten-free nature of existing lines.
“Gluten intolerance is no longer the only reason for buying gluten-free foods,” notes Williams. “Issues such as overall well-being, digestive health, weight management and nutritional value often deemed to be equally if not more important by consumers. With more labelling of gluten-free foods and the growing availability of a range of high quality products with a good sensory profile, the sector seems set to take further advantage of the huge potential market for this type of product,” she concludes.
Nearly Half Of Consumers Doubt Ready Meal Meat And Fish Authenticity
A recent study by Leatherhead Food Research reveals that up to 43% of consumers are not confident that chilled and frozen ready meals contain the meat or fish specified on the label.
Survey respondents were asked to rank their confidence that the meat and fish products they buy actually contain the species indicated on a scale of one to ten, where ten represents ‘completely confident’.
Meat-based chilled and frozen ready meals were among the worst performers in the survey with an average confidence score of 5.6. Fish-based chilled and frozen ready meals scored 6.3. Other processed meat and fish from supermarkets, such as sausages and fish fingers, were ranked at 6.8 and 7.2, respectively.
Leatherhead believes that the horsemeat scandal of 2013 could be the root cause of the problem. It is now urging frozen and chilled ready meal manufacturers and retailers to talk more openly about their food fraud prevention strategies to boost consumer confidence. Leatherhead has also published a White Paper, Detecting and Deterring Meat and Fish Adulteration, exploring the issue and considering how the industry can seek to rebuild consumer trust.
Leatherhead has also developed an advanced species authenticity testing technology making it quicker and easier to identify or rule out species adulteration.
Traditional tests only target one known or suspected adulterant at a time, which needs to be specified at the outset. This limiting factor has been overcome in Leatherhead’s new single-test multi-species analysis technique. It can be used on raw or cooked processed foods and mixtures as well as whole meat and fish to detect the presence of any biological adulterant.
This more reliable, cost-effective species authenticity testing capability could play a critical role aiding adherence to the new BRC Global Food Safety Standard requirements surrounding food fraud. However, further action is required to help overcome enduring consumer doubts over species authenticity.
“The food industry needs to take a multi-layered approach to address the myriad issues associated with food fraud,” says Dr Monee Shamsher, Research Scientist at Leatherhead. “Our new species authenticity testing technology puts the power back into the hands of manufacturers and retailers, but it is only one part of the equation. An assertive, proactive and transparent response is required to tackle confidence issues for consumers. That means acknowledging the risk of food fraud, and demonstrating that decisive measures are being taken to combat the problem. Communicating this publically is one way to show consumers that the industry has their best interests at heart, and it could also play a vital role in deterring fraudsters.”