MONTREAL, Dec. 12, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Although Quebecers recognize that they
should eat healthier foods, most are unable to change their eating habits.
Consequently, agri-food industry companies have a vital role to play in
helping consumers improve their health. These are the two central findings to
emerge from a Melior-led consultation among Quebecers and key players in
health and nutrition on the first anniversary of the Melior program.
Healthcare stakeholders: well-entrenched habits are hard to change...
Eating habits are often associated with health problems. To better understand
the perceptions of health professionals in this area, Ipsos Marketing
organized a Melior discussion group among nurses, as well as six individual
interviews with general practitioners. The main findings are as follows:
-- Eating habits are increasingly on the radar of healthcare
-- These health professionals do not perceive themselves as THE
-- Patients are the link between health and nutrition
-- Changes in eating habits are difficult for most patients
-- Nutrition labels are hard to understand
-- Improving health with better quality foods requires a concerted
effort from all stakeholders, including businesses
It is clear that while Quebecers recognize that they should eat better, they
are unable to change their eating habits. Furthermore, most healthcare
practitioners admit that they do not address preventive nutrition in depth due
to a lack of time and because they believe the task is better suited to other
stakeholders such as nutritionists. According to one doctor surveyed : "The
industry has a role to play and must guide consumers toward making informed
General public consult nutritional labels…mostly for calories
According to a survey conducted by Ipsos Marketing in October:
-- 63 per cent of Quebecers read nutrition labels mainly to
ascertain the amount of calories in a product
-- Only 11 per cent of respondents consulted nutrition labels for
sodium content first, even though reducing the daily intake of
sodium by 6 grams decreases deaths related to cardiovascular
disease(1) by 18 per cent
Most respondents, however, are open to consuming products with sodium reduced
and sugar reduced to minimize the negative impacts on their health. Quebecers,
for example, would consume reduced-sodium chips (61%) and canned soup (61%) as
well as reduced-sugar cereals (65%) cream and frozen yogurt (60%).
"This snapshot confirms that most people know what is needed to improve their
health through better eating, but that changing behaviours is often difficult.
It also illustrates how the role of the food industry in offering healthier
products is vital to improving the health of Quebecers," explained Annick Van
Campenhout, CEO of The Council for Food Progress Initiatives (CFPI), the
organization that manages the Melior program. "Retailer shelf space offers
little room for expansion. It's not just about adding new products; it's about
making existing products better. Improving existing products promotes better
eating without modifying consumer behaviours."
The Melior indicator: the progress of participating companies
After only a year in existence, five companies (Pacini, Commensal & Cie, IGA,
Nutrifrance and Compass Group) have already joined the program. In France, by
contrast, it took more than a year and a half before signing the first company.
To promote program thoroughness, Melior launched the Melior Indicator, a
measurement tool that lets people follow the progress of companies involved in
this new form of social responsibility by visiting
www.programmemelior.com/entreprises/indicateur-melior/. Today, for example,
the Indicator shows that Pacini has already met its commitment to offering
whole wheat pasta.
"We are very proud to already have the involvement of five companies from all
sectors of the industry. The companies we met with are open to the program and
recognize that they have an important role to play. We anticipate more
companies joining the program in the coming weeks," concluded Ms. Van
Companies that participate in the Melior program have made voluntary
commitments to improve the nutritional value of their products.
The Melior program, from the Latin meliorare, meaning "to improve," is a
Quebec initiative aiming to stimulate food progress and to help improve the
food supply in Quebec. The Melior program is designed to help agri-food
industry members create charters of voluntary commitments toward nutritional
progress. Inspired by a similar model implemented in France, it is the first
initiative of its kind in North America and is fully adapted to Quebec
This initiative is made possible by the financial support of Québec en Forme.
(1 )World Action on Salt and Health (WASH)
For information and interviews: Vanessa Roland 514966-8963
To view this news release in HTML formatting, please use the following URL:
CO: Conseil des initiatives pour le progrès en alimentation
NI: FBR FOD RES HEA
-0- Dec/12/2012 12:30 GMT
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