Agri-food industry called to step up: Quebecers need allies in the battle for healthy eating

MONTREAL, Nov. 26, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Quebecers understand the steps needed to improve their diets and have a tendency to follow through with various actions. Nonetheless, they still face certain obstacles: a lack of will, diligence, and the time needed to cook meals. They also understand that as their best ally, the agri-food industry needs to do more to help them eat healthier. This was the latest finding gleaned from a CROP survey carried out for the Melior Program on the occasion of its second anniversary.

Quebecers take action toward healthy eating... and reward themselves!
Quebecers are increasingly aware of the impact that their diet has on their health. According to the CROP survey, 95% of Quebecers recognize it important to eat well even when they lack the diligence to do so, considering they reward themselves with small snacks (cookies, chips, chocolate) almost every day of the week! They also stay better informed with three-quarters of Quebecers reading the ingredient and nutritional labels of the foods they purchase and consume.

Consumers are no longer content to simply recognize the problem and are taking concrete actions to improve their health through better diet. More than six out of ten consumers are making efforts to limit their intake of ingredients such as fat, sugar and salt, which are considered unhealthy based on current consumption levels. Youri Rivest, CROP Vice-President, is not surprised by the finding: "A growing number of Quebecers want to better manage their lives. Eating better helps them feel that they are in control of their health."

Consumers demand help from companies in exchange for brand loyalty
Although certain inroads have been made, Quebecers feel they need help from agri-food companies to build on this momentum. The survey reveals that 86% of respondents believe that the industry is responsible for providing them with healthy choices that help improve their health, such as products with reduced salt, fat, and sugar. Additionally, the survey reveals that 53% of respondents find it difficult to reduce food portions. This explains why nearly six out of ten Quebecers want their favourite chocolate bar available in a smaller size. Of these, 55% are even willing to pay proportionally more for a smaller size.

Furthermore, not only do Quebecers want companies to improve their products, but they also want to be informed. In fact, 90% of consumers want to know if a product has been improved in order to make a conscious decision for their health. Moreover, nearly three-quarters (74%) of respondents would reward companies that improve their existing products with greater brand loyalty.

"The survey results are very clear. People want to eat better, but they also need the support of the food industry," explains Annick Van Campenhout, CEO of the Council for Food Progress Initiatives (CFPI), the body that governs the Melior Program. "Businesses have a role to play in improving public health and they need to be a part of the solution. Melior is a tool that can accompany them and add credibility to the process of improving their products," adds Ms. Van Campenhout.

Melior indicator: the numbers are in
After two years of existence, seven major players from the food industry have joined the Melior Program: Pacini, Commensal & Cie, IGA, Nutrifrance, Compass Group, Sélection du Pâtissier, and Fleury Michon. Every fall, in an effort to ensure rigour, Melior publishes the results its Melior indicator, a measurement tool that lets the public follow the progress of companies committed to the program: Click on a company to see the percentage of commitments undertaken.

Companies that take part in the Melior Program are committed to improving their food products.

Survey Methodology
To carry out the study, CROP contacted 1,000 Quebecers 18 years and over, via online panel. The survey was conducted between October 22 and 25, 2013. Results were weighted to reflect the distribution of the Quebec adult population based on respondents' gender, age, region of residence, mother tongue, and education level. Given the non-probabilistic nature of the sample, calculation of the margin of error does not apply.

About Melior
Melior comes from the Latin word meliorare, which means "to improve", and is a Quebec initiative designed to stimulate advances in nutrition and improve the overall quality of food products on the Quebec market. The program comprises a charter of voluntary commitments for nutritional progress throughout the agri-food industry. Inspired by a similar initiative in France, it is the first program of its kind in North America and is designed to reflect local realities.

    This initiative is made possible with
Financial assistance and support from
Québec en Forme

SOURCE: Melior

For further information:

For information and interviews
Lina Bensaid
(514) 467-8687

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