Change of dietary habits
Poor quality diets are among the top six risk factors contributing to the global burden of disease, mainly through malnutrition and noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). The latter is highly linked to poor diets that are high in sodium, low in fruits and vegetables, low in whole grains, nuts, and seeds, and low in omega-3 fatty acids. Innovation in education, policy making, ingredient research, product development, and new insights in consumer behaviour, are some of the leavers to drive this trend.
SPECIFIC R&I BREAKTHROUGH TOPICS
Awareness of healthy habits: Many dietary habits have a social and cultural background. The country we live in, the education we receive, the house economy, the job and lifestyle we have, are just some of the factors that influence our food choices. Awareness is a first step, which requires the understanding of consumer behaviour, but also the methodologies in education, the understanding of transmitted social values, or the existing lifestyle trends. This requires systems in place to deliver this knowledge, adapted to the factual communication channels of citizens.
Reduction of targeted ingredients: There are targeted ingredients that are known to be consumed excessively in unbalanced diets – salt, sugar, and saturated fats – while others lack high fibre foods, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and some vitamins. Efforts are made to reformulate recipes in such a way that the population can change the balance of those components, keeping the taste and price of the usual consumed goods.
Reduction of targeted additives (clean label): There is an effort from the food industry to substitute and reduce certain additives and ingredients from recipes. This is named clean label, which means the elimination from the label of components, often identified with E-numbers in the European legislation. However, this is usually linked with higher transparency on the ingredients (eg allergens) in food labelling.
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