Report of the workshop 'How can food producers and retailers make the healthy choices the easy choices?'

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Title: Report of the workshop 'How can food producers and retailers make the healthy choices the easy choices?'
Authors: Gormley, T. R. (Thomas Ronan)
Onneweer, A.F.
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/6978
Date: 1993
Abstract: The European food system is complex and dynamic and the topic of this workshop represents a major challenge to virtually all the players in the food system. The purpose of the workshop is to attempt to obtain a consensus as to whether the topic is just an aspiration, or a realisable goal, or somewhere in-between. This introductory note focuses on some of the issues but does not attempt to give any of the answers. The inputs to the topic are numerous and collectively form an interactive matrix which is difficult to dissect into stand-alone components. Firstly, there is continued confusion among health professionals about many of the dietary issues of today and this spills over to the consumer which is a 'bad start' in focusing on at least some of the healthy dietary options. Secondly, food purchase/choice in Europe is related to many factors including product sensory quality and diversity, price and value for money, promotion and advertising, cultural/traditional and regional preferences, and health considerations. These interact with consumer beliefs and motivation to purchase, with level of education and disposable income, with sub-groups within the consumer population; these in turn interact with agricultural food production policies and with the retailing policy of the supermarkets. The so-called healthy choices are often of inferior sensory quality to the 'real thing', e.g. fat spreads vs butter; low fat vs whole milk; unsalted vs salted bread; sauceless food dishes. This currently militates against choosing the healthy options and challenges food technologists to create products which match the sensory quality of the 'real thing' while maintaining product safety, wholesomeness and a high degree of naturalness. Other aspects which aid healthy choices include competitive or lower pricing (currently the healthy choices are usually more expensive). and balanced consumer education on diet and nutrition. The explosion of functional foods, while desirable, must be kept in context and one must ask 'Does a balanced diet not give us Europeans all the 'functionality' we need?'. Central to the whole issue of healthy choices is the area of health claims and this must be regarded as both an ongoing and potential minefield which will be increasingly difficult to interpret and to police as foods become more complex and functional.
Type of material: Conference Publication
Publisher: Pudoc Scientific Publishers, Wageningen
Keywords: European food system;Nutrition
Language: en
Status of Item: Not peer reviewed
Conference Details: Proceedings of the Second European Conference on Food and Nutrition Policy, The Hague, The Netherlands, 21-24 April 1992
Appears in Collections:Agriculture and Food Science Research Collection

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