More than half of Kiwis think they are overweight

KIWIS WANT TO SHED POUNDS: Food manufacturers have the opportunity to take advantage of consumers who wanted to lose ...
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KIWIS WANT TO SHED POUNDS: Food manufacturers have the opportunity to take advantage of consumers who wanted to lose weight, a new survey says.

More than half of New Zealanders think they are overweight but not all are willing to pay more for foods with healthy attributes, a new survey shows.

According to information analytics provider Nielsen, 59 per cent of New Zealanders consider themselves to be overweight.

Nearly 70 per cent of people were actively using food to forestall health issues and medical conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension.

Nielsen NZ director of retail Lance Dobson said overindulgence during the Christmas break meant many New Zealanders would be putting diet and exercise on the menu in 2015.

Of the 51 per cent of Kiwis actively trying to lose weight, 80 per cent were looking to change their diet in order to reach their goal.

Food manufacturers had the opportunity to take advantage of consumers who wanted to lose weight, with 52 per cent of people willing to pay more for foods with healthy attributes to some degree.

"Given the high interest in getting healthier, there's an opportunity for suppliers and retailers to better align their offerings to consumer needs and desires for innovative, tasty foods with health benefits," Dobson said.

Low sugar or sugar-free products were considered very important by 26 per cent of survey respondents, the highest percentage of the 27 attributes in the study.

A quarter of respondents also said they sought products with no artificial colour and looked for foods made from fruit or vegetables.

Of the people who thought low sugar or sugar-free products were important in the foods they purchased, only 14 per cent were "very willing" to pay a premium for those products.

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There was a percentage gap for most attributes between the percentage of people who said a health attribute was very important and the percentage willing to pay a premium to have it in their food.

Dobson said food manufacturers must "offer true innovation" and stand out versus the competition in a substantial way to appeal to New Zealand shoppers.

 - Stuff

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