Home LifeStyle STUDY Romanians pay more attention to the information on food packaging than...

STUDY Romanians pay more attention to the information on food packaging than Bulgarians or Serbs

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A study carried out at the beginning of this year by Nestlé together with the research agency Masmi in the field of nutrition in the south-eastern area of ​​Europe, shows more differences in behavior and consumption among the population.

Romanians are most aware of the impact of food choices on environmental sustainability (64%), while Bulgarians are 51% and Serbians only 35%. Romanian citizens pay more attention to the information on the package (53% read the list of ingredients and 47% read the nutritional information) compared to Bulgarians who only read the list of ingredients in percentage of 44%, respectively 45% read the nutritional information. Serbians read the information on the packaging the least, only 27% look at the list of ingredients and only 22% read the nutritional information. Over 60% of Romanians find this information very useful, compared to 50% of Bulgarians and 49% of Serbs. Among the decisive factors in food choices, Romanians mentioned in order of import: ingredients (72%), price (71%), nutritional values ​​(62%), local source (61%), production from sustainable sources (60%).

In all three markets, the most important factors contributing to a healthier lifestyle are a healthy diet (60% in Romania) and physical activity (51%). When it comes to differences between countries, in Romania physical activity and a healthy diet are considered somewhat more important than in Serbia and Bulgaria. A freshly cooked meal at home is the dominant choice among residents of all three countries, it is the main meal at least three times a week for a larger number of Romanians (86%) compared to Bulgarian and Serbian citizens (75%, respectively 72%). About half of citizens in all three markets consume at least 1-2 plant-based meals per week. Plant-based, meat-free meals and plant-based proteins are generally well accepted among residents in all three countries (between 38% and 51% eat them at least 3 times a week). For example, in Romania, 51% of respondents prefer plant-based foods, 46% without meat and 40% with plant-based protein foods. The greatest potential for plant-based diets is seen in Romania and Serbia, where more than 40% of consumers intend to increase their consumption of this type of food in the future, compared to about one in three residents under 50 in Bulgaria (28%).

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When we talk about cereals, the main barriers to buying whole grains are the taste (36% of Romanians) and their price (29%). Adults consume whole grains on average 2.8 times per week in Romania, 2 times in Bulgaria and similarly in Serbia (1.8 times). Children up to the age of 16 in Romania, like adults, seem to consume whole grains more frequently than in the other markets (on average 3 times a week, compared to 2.5 times in Bulgaria and 1.8 times a week in Serbia ). The richness of fiber and the role in the prevention of some (chronic) diseases are recognized as important benefits of whole grains in all three target markets.

Regarding cooking habits, Romanian (39%) and Bulgarian (36%) consumers include children more often in the cooking process, compared to Serbians (15%). Parents generally point to extra patience (56%), extended preparation and cooking time (47%), and extra care to avoid injury to children (51%) as the most important barriers that prevent or reduce the practice of involvement children in the cooking process.

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Regarding sources of information and advice, doctors and nutritionists (48%) and personal experience (15%) are primary sources of information when it comes to raising healthy children in Romania. In Romania and Bulgaria, more parents rely on the advice of experts in this field compared to parents in Serbia, who rely more often on their own personal experiences and beliefs.

“The study brought new elements, but also confirmed things that I and my colleagues in the area had already observed from practice. Certain differences in behavior can be seen, depending on the info campaigns

training, education and the projects we have been running for more than 12 years. The answers of Romanians show us the tendency and interest of Romanians to be as informed as possible about ingredients, the concern for products from sustainable sources, the increased interest in plant-based products and the desire to involve children more and more in the preparation of meals. We will continue to develop products, projects and campaigns to help Romanians have a healthier diet”, says Nicoleta Tupiţă, nutritionist-dietitian, Nutrition Manager for Romania, Bulgaria and the Adriatic Countries.

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