Healthy eating attitudes reveal east-west divide

A vegetarian/vegan health claim is nearly three times more likely to influence Asians

Interest in nutrition and healthy eating is far lower in western countries than in Asia, a new survey has found.

Nearly seven in 10 (68%) of the 600 Asian consumers surveyed said they were ‘very interested’ in nutrition and healthy eating. This compared with just 38% of 700 people in the western hemisphere, plus Australia and New Zealand.

Only 36% of respondents in the UK and 26% in Australia said they were very interested in a healthy diet, although in the US the figure was 71%.

Highest level of interest

India had the highest level of interest, where 82% said they wanted to eat healthily, followed by the Philippines (71%).

There was also a clear difference concerning meat consumption. In Asia, 39% of respondents believed eating less meat was important in achieving a healthy diet, but only 25% of westerners felt the same way.

Meanwhile, a vegetarian or vegan health claim is nearly three times more likely to influence a consumer to buy a product in Asia (28%) than it is a consumer in the west (10%).

‘East and west are worlds apart’

“When it comes to healthy eating, east and west are worlds apart, even in this era of globalisation,” said Richard Clarke, director of Ingredient Communications, the PR firm that commissioned the research.

“Nutrition businesses need a clear strategy that taps into worldwide mega-trends, but they must remain agile enough to adapt their approach in individual markets as required.”

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East-west divide – at a glance
  • 68% of Asian consumers surveyed said they were ‘very interested’ in nutrition and healthy eating
  • 38% of western consumers reported the same interest
  • 36% of UK consumers were very interested in a healthy diet
  • 26% of Australian consumers were very interested
  • India had the highest level of interest, where 82% said they wanted to eat healthily
  • Philippines had the second highest level of interest at 71%

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