87% of Irish people think they eat healthily, research says otherwise

A recent study by Bord Bia has found that almost nine out of 10 (87%) Irish people regard their diet as fairly or very healthy.

Bord Bia’s biennial PERIscope study has been exploring consumer attitudes towards topics such as eating at home, cooking, local food, sustainability and health and wellbeing.

Increasing slightly from 2013, some 73% of Irish people said they eat healthy to take control of their lives, while 79% of Irish people consider what they eat to be really important for their mental wellbeing.

However, a study published earlier this year by the World Health Organisation (WHO) found that Ireland is on track to be most obese country in Europe.

It found that in Ireland, almost everyone – 90% of men and 85% of women – is predicted to be overweight (body mass index (BMI) greater than 25) in 15 years, compared with 74% of men and 57% of women who were overweight in 2010.

The WHO research found that almost half (48%) of Irish men and 57% of women will be obese (BMI greater than 30) by 2030, compared with 26% and 23%, respectively, in 2010.

Bord Bia’s study found that healthy eating continues to be a key focus, with Ireland ranking third out of eight countries in understanding the potential power of a healthy diet.

Interestingly, 7% of Irish people now have a nutribullet, 37% have a juicer and 31% have a smoothie maker.

In the same vein, 49% of people have a steamer which is up from 34% in 2003 and deep fat fryers have dropped in ownership from 65% in 2003 to 42% 12 years later.

Some 41% of Irish people claim to be following a balanced diet with 4% following a high protein diet at the moment.

Over half the population in each of the countries surveyed check for nutritional information on food, while a significant proportion claim to need help understanding it.

The Irish are the least likely to check nutritional labelling at 55% versus China at 94%.

In Ireland, 10% of households claim to have someone who has a food allergy which is up from 7% in 2011, the study found.

The survey found that 74% of Irish people sometimes or always check for country of origin on labelling or a quality mark symbol, further reinforcing the importance of transparency.

The emphasis placed on price when grocery shopping seems to have fallen back slightly, with 60% of Irish people looking at price first when shopping and 77% of them saying quality of fresh food is more important, it found.

According to PERIscope, 38% of Irish people claim to be too busy to cook as often as they like while only 13% of Irish have ever ordered grocery shopping online versus 71% of Chinese consumers.

Some 66% of Irish people agree they are looking for quicker meals to prepare, up from 56% agreed in 2001.

Irish people continue to see the importance of eating as a family, using typical mealtimes to bring family together.

Some 85% of respondents still believe it’s important to spend time over dinner as a family and the Irish are eating together more at the weekends but less on weekdays.

The survey found that on Sundays, 88% of Irish families eat together up from 78% in 2001, while on weekdays, 54% eat together down from 59% in 2001.

PERIscope 2015 looks at eight markets – Ireland and Britain, four Continental European markets, along with the US and for the first time, China.

In total, the research encompasses more than 8,000 respondents across these eight markets.

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