There are no ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’ foods on the market: ESA comments on study into the consumer’s utopian snack

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

ESA says if a food was considered 'unhealthy', it would not end up on the market. Pic: GettyImages/Duka82
ESA says if a food was considered 'unhealthy', it would not end up on the market. Pic: GettyImages/Duka82

Related tags: European Snacks Association, Snacks, Healthy food, Unhealthy food

The European Snacks Association has highlighted some of the shortcomings of the Dutch study that was designed to give producers a better understanding of what a consumer considers to be the ideal snack.

According to the study's authors, "Although many people intend to eat healthily, their actual snacking behaviour​is often marked by a high consumption of calorie-dense, unhealthy snacks."

Sebastian Emig, director general of ESA, told BakeryandSnacks the association disagrees with the authors’ use of the terminology of ‘unhealthy food’.

“The European Snacks Association has read with interest the study on ‘The snack that has it all: People's associations with ideal snacks’,” ​said Emig.

“With surprise, we noted the authors using the terminology of ‘unhealthy food’, which we entirely disagree with. There are no healthy or unhealthy foods; otherwise if a food would be considered unhealthy, it would not end up on the market.

“We support the term ‘healthy and unhealthy diet’, where a healthy one is a balanced diet combined with a healthy lifestyle and food and beverage consumption in moderation.”

He added the study – which is to be published in the September 2020 edition of Appetite​ – only canvassed a small group of consumers, which does not necessarily constitute a perfect sample of consumer ideology.

“We were surprised to see that the study doesn’t necessarily cover a wide geographic area but only a ‘large community sample from a city in the Netherlands’, nor participants with a varied background and experience in understanding nutrition and diets: ‘Most participants (41%) were recruited at a consumer fair about wellness products’,”​ added Emig.

“ESA members are committed to playing their part in helping people to build balanced diets by continually investing in order to improve the taste and nutritional quality of their products through reformulating standard products and innovating to provide products that have an improved nutritional composition.

“It is also important to our members to provide consumers with consistent, factual, science-based nutrition information so that they can make informed choices.”

Related topics: Ingredients, Health & Functionality

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