Price perceptions and food label confusion remain barriers to achieving healthier diets

Loblaw Companies livelivewell survey reports Albertans top the list of Canadians making healthier eating choices; other prairie provinces and Quebec rank lowest

BRAMPTON, ON, Feb. 27, 2012 /CNW/ - (TSX:L) - Two thirds of Canadians (67%) say they are making healthier eating choices than one year ago, reveals the Loblaw Companies Limited livelifewell™ survey, compiled from a national online poll conducted by Vision Critical for Loblaw Companies Limited.  The survey results highlight where Canadians stand when it comes to making healthier eating choices, from nutritional attributes they seek most, to challenges they face and who they go to for support on adopting healthier lifestyles - and the results offer food for thought.

"While healthier eating behaviours and perspectives vary across the country, overall the survey reveals that Canadians are eating more fresh foods and trust dietitians and doctors for advice on healthy living.  However, there is still progress to be made as price and food label confusion remain the top barriers to achieving healthier diets," says Alexis Williams, dietitian for Loblaw Companies Limited.

Healthy Bites From Across the Nation

  • Albertans have made the biggest change, with 81 per cent of respondents saying they are making healthier eating choices than they were one year ago.

  • In the Atlantic provinces, 70 per cent of respondents are making healthier eating choices now than they were one year ago.

  • British Columbia and Ontario were nearly tied with 68 per cent and 67 per cent of residents, respectively, making healthier eating choices over the past year.

  • In Quebec, 63 per cent of residents said they are making healthier eating choices over the last year.

  • Residents of Manitoba and Saskatchewan made the fewest changes to their eating habits over the past year with 58 per cent reporting that they are now making healthier eating choices compared to one year ago.

  • More British Columbia residents reduced their sugar intake than residents of any other province (41%).

  • Quebec residents reduced their fat intake more than any other province (37%).

  • Canadians over 55 years of age reduced the sodium and fat in their diets at the highest rate (both at 38%).

  • When looking for healthy lifestyle information, Canadians said family doctors (52%) and nutritionists/dietitians (46%) are their most trusted sources of healthy lifestyle information, yet less than one in 10 Canadians turned to a nutritionist or dietitian as a source of healthy living information and only one-quarter turned to their doctor in the past year.

"Many Canadians are unsure of where to go for advice on healthy living and nutrition, and may feel that individual guidance from a nutritionist or dietitian is inaccessible to them," says Williams.  "That's what makes the in-store dietitian program at Loblaw banner stores so convenient - being able to pick up dinner and talk to a dietitian in one stop, under one roof is a unique offering for customers.  With a few minutes of one-on-one time, we can help provide tools for healthier choices that will last a lifetime."

Men and women both report making healthier eating choices.  Women are leading the charge at 70 per cent, compared to 64 per cent of men. Younger Canadians aged 18 to 34 are most likely to have made changes to their eating habits in the past year, reporting at 70 per cent compared to 67 per cent of Canadians aged 35-54 and 64 per cent of Canadians 55 years and older. At 39 per cent the most common change that Canadian report is adding more fresh foods

Almost one in three Canadians (32%) are also working to reduce the amount of fat (32%), sugar (31%) and sodium (30%) in their diet. But, while the majority of Canadians have improved their eating choices, some report frustrating barriers - the most common being the perception that healthier food is more expensive.  In fact, 41 per cent of respondents reported price as a barrier to making healthier eating choices.  Taste and knowledge about more nutritious options were also recognized as barriers (both 11%), demonstrating clear gaps in understanding the options and resources available to them.

Half of Canadians look to food labels for information to help them make healthy lifestyle choices and certain brands take a lot of the guesswork out of the decision making for customers. The newly-designed packaging of PC® Blue Menu® products, featuring new plus (+) and minus (-) symbols makes it easier for customers to identify nutritional attributes.  Now customers can see what the products contain more of, or less of, right away.

Want to know more?

Alexis Williams, a registered dietitian who develops health and wellness services and programs for Loblaw, including the in-store dietitians program offered at selected Loblaw banner stores, is available to discuss the survey findings with media and offer:

  • Insight into survey results and trends in healthier lifestyles among Canadians
  • Tips to choose healthier foods and get around the most common barriers to healthy eating
  • Easy ways to increase fibre and omega-3 intake and decrease sodium, fat and sugar
  • Ingredient substitutions to pack more nutrition into family favourites
  • Ways to get the most out of your relationship with grocery store pharmacists and dietitians

*One-on-one counseling with dietitians is available in 18 Loblaws® and Real Canadian Superstore® locations across Ontario.

About the survey

Vision Critical conducted an online survey on February 1, 2012 among 1,004 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid forum panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

About Loblaw Companies Limited TSX: L

Loblaw Companies Limited, a subsidiary of George Weston Limited, is Canada's largest food retailer and a leading provider of drugstore, general merchandise and financial products and services. Loblaw is one of the largest private sector employers in Canada. With more than 1,000 corporate and franchised stores from coast to coast, Loblaw and its franchisees employ more than 135 000 full-time and part-time employees. Through its portfolio of store formats, Loblaw is committed to providing Canadians with a wide, growing and successful range of products and services to meet the everyday household demands of Canadian consumers. Loblaw is known for the quality, innovation and value of its food offering. It offers Canada's strongest control (private) label program, including the unique President's Choice®, no name® and Joe Fresh® brands. In addition, the Company makes available to consumers President's Choice Financial® services and offers the PC® points loyalty program.

Product samples, regional versions of the President's Choice® Insider's Report® and high-resolution images are available.

SOURCE Loblaw Companies Limited

For further information:

or to arrange an interview please contact:

Loblaw Companies Limited
Hill+Knowlton Strategies
Michelle Dias
416-413-4635 / 

Miriam Sherkey
416-413-4732 /


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