Arla’s YouGov survey reveals German views on sustainable diets

The ideas among Germans about a sustainable diet differ significantly, according to the results of a survey of the YouGov market research institute on behalf of Arla Foods.

More than every second German (54%) is often looking at the packaging of food to examine how environmentally friendly they are.

At the same time, consumers have the topic of nutrients less on the radar: The majority of Germans (67%) do not count the aspect of the nutritional value of foods to a sustainable diet.

They do have a pretty clear idea of what makes a sustainable diet for them: For the majority, the local production of food (57%) is especially the most important element of sustainable diet, such as to reduce the carbon footprint. Characteristics play a role in the sustainable diet and the packaging of foods counts, such as recyclability, as the second most (52%) important feature. It is followed by animal welfare (50%) and environmental friendliness (49%).

Regionally, there is a different weighting on the subject of packaging. While in Baden-Württemberg 56% see a sustainable packaging as a factor for a sustainable diet, this is the case in only 45% of the consumers in Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Saxony-Anhalt.

In Germany 67% are currently considering the aspect of nutritional food as a feature of a sustainable diet.

“Sustainable diet is faceted. In addition to the common ecological factors around environmental compatibility, animal welfare and packaging, which we also address with our sustainability agenda, according to the definition of the UN World Food Organisation, the aspect of the nutritional value of a food also counts – the supply of macro and micronutrients. In particular, we can’t forget the role that nutrient-rich foods play for the diet of the world’s population,” said Kasper Thormod Nielsen, head of sustainability at Arla Germany.

In addition, a hidden problem, which often occurs in the developing, as well as in the industrialised countries such as Germany, is sometimes a too low intake of micronutrients (especially vitamins and minerals). The World Health Organisation estimates that more than two billion people suffer worldwide due to an undersupply of micronutrients.

Around 48% of Germans are confused from the amount of information on how to nourish sustainably. On the other hand, 50% of Germans would like more information about this. This applies in particular to the age group of 25 to 34-year-olds (57%).

In order to inform oneself about sustainable diets, Germans mainly based their decisions on news media (32%), followed by family (27%) and friends (25%).

“Even if the motivation is already available for sustainable nutrition, there are still hurdles: the survey results show that many people here find, above all, the information flood problematic and look for reliable orientation. This could be helped by national nutritional guidelines, as in this country the rules of the German Society for Nutrition. In addition to nutritional insights, they also include various sustainability aspects,” Thormod Nielsen said.

Furthermore, more than every second (58%) person says that they find it difficult for cost reasons to decide on their diet for more sustainability.

At the same time, half of the Germans affirm the question of readiness for sustainable foods.

In addition, 54% of the Germans indicate that they often check on the packaging how environmentally friendly the product is. This is particularly common to consumers in Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and Berlin.

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