Health professionals Consumer Insights once again undertook our biannual market research tracking study to ensure Nuts for Life is achieving its goals of increasing the nut health knowledge of health professionals and to monitor the consumer opinion of nuts. 424 health professionals (just over 100 of each: GPs, dietitians, fitness leaders and naturopaths) completed the online survey in January 2012. General practitioners A slow but gradual gain in GPs knowledge of nut health effects has been seen - particularly in the areas of cholesterol/heart disease and diabetes. They are still confused about the role of nuts in weight management given nuts’ calorie content, but it is slowly improving. Interestingly in 2010 the focus was on fat and now it seems calories/energy. GPs themselves are still not regular nut eaters with only 4% of the sample reporting they consume some nuts daily and 16% consuming nuts weekly up from 12% in 2010. Getting GPs to eat nuts more frequently is a key opportunity for Nuts for Life. When snacking on nuts 62% said they eat a handful (30g) up from 45% in 2010 indicating the message of quantity is getting through. For those that don’t eat a handful each day the three main reasons they reported were; they think moderation is 3-4 times a week, availability at home and forgetting they need to. It could be that a focus on a healthy daily diet is better than eating a handful every day. The nuts they choose to eat are in descending order are: cashews, mixed nuts, almonds, macadamias, peanuts and they either ate nuts as a snack, cooking or noted in other products. There has also been in jump in their understanding of the nutrient composition of nuts with 61% noting they are a good source of vitamins and minerals (up from 50% in 2010). Dietitians As expected, dietitians are better informed, however have reservations about nuts and weight management. 4% of dietitians report eating a handful of nuts daily and 11% every day. 22% report eating nuts weekly and 21% fortnightly. About 70% report eating a handful of nuts (30g) when they eat nuts, which is mainly mixed tree nuts, cashews, almonds and pistachios.
Consumers remain confused when it comes to eating nuts regularly, and the impact this has on weight. Interestingly their knowledge of the effect of nuts on cholesterol and diabetes continues to increase but does not appear to be impacting their daily behaviour. This year we also asked questions relating to children and schools: • 38% of respondents said that had children attending a nut free school, 62% said no • Their children eat nuts on weekends>on the way to sports or after school>for afternoon tea. Around 30% said their kids don’t like or eat nuts • Only 1% of respondents children eat nuts everyday We also asked once questions about Sanitarium’s Healthy Front of Pack Labelling System using raw mixed nut as an example. When asked if they were more likely to buy the product based on the label 52% said it would make no difference with 44% unsure. In general nuts remain a high fat food in a fat phobic world. We must continue to educate on the role healthy fats play in the diet with an emphasis on how nuts can be eaten in a weight management diet. Those that “don’t know” are in a position to move to a more positive place with more education. This is an opportunity for Nuts for Life. Interestingly members of the food industry are keen to see a healthy fats food group in the review of the dietary guidelines and consider nuts to be a member of that group. Our position is that if we wish to continue to sell nuts we need to highlight all the benefits of nuts while reducing consumer fear of fat. Until there is better acceptance of fats as an important nutrient of the diet as an industry we are better off promoting nuts as a nutrient-dense plant-based snack food. Working with the cooking oil and margarine manufacturers on an education campaign may be one opportunity to do this. The full market research report is now available in the contributors password protected section of the Nuts for Life website. The 2012-2015 strategic plan aims to further progress our objectives. Lisa Yates
The majority of dietitians (83%) are more likely to raise the issue of eating nuts with clients and specifically recommending them. Consumer market research 210 consumers (equal males and females and 86% 36 yrs and above) completed the online survey in January 2012. While these numbers are small a tracking study helps to understand consumer sentiment. • In this survey we asked how many nuts everyday, some noting nuts are ingredients in products and recipes. 11% purchase nuts once a week and 61% report eating nuts at least monthly. Consumers are eating nuts “regularly”, just not as regularly as research indicates. • Around 40% of consumers eat a handful of nuts when they snack on nuts. • Consumers report the main issue stopping then from eating nuts is the fat content and need for weight loss – this has not changed since 2009. • Developing everyday recipes may help increase regular nut consumption • 27% of respondents reported they were recommended to eat nuts by health professionals – this number was 38% in 2010. Over 60% of respondents however had never received advice from anyone to eat nuts. • The most common occasions to eat nuts were similar to 2010 results: at parties> on planes> pre-dinner> at desk> with a drink, however breakfast has moved up to fifth place with watching TV. Morning afternoon tea and in the car follow. • The most common 3 nuts to snack on were mixed nuts, cashews, mixed nuts and almonds – which has changed from 2010 where it was cashews, mixed nuts and peanuts. • 88% of consumers said their consumption of nuts had gone up or stayed the same in the last year. • Cooking with nuts has gone up, with 87% of respondents reporting they cook with nuts - up from 81%. Cooking with nuts monthly is the most popular. 14% cooks with nuts weekly up from 11%. The most popular nut to cook with is almonds although walnuts are not far behind. A concern over baking and allergies was noted. people eat a handful of nuts everyday - with 2% saying they do, we have much to work on. 9% reported that eat “some”
Program Manager and Dietitian Nuts for Life Ph 02 9460 0111 Email firstname.lastname@example.org