Brits are now almost as worried about the sugar in their food as they are about food prices.
A survey conducted for the Food Standards Agency showed 51% of consumers were concerned about food prices - down from 60% six months ago.
Meanwhile, the proportion of people concerned about the amount of sugar in food has risen from 44% to 48%, the agency’s latest biannual Public Attitudes Tracker found. This is the highest level of concern over sugar recorded since the survey was first run in 2010. Concern over salt content was 47%, up from 44% six months ago.
At 63%, the 50 to 65 year-old age group was most likely to be concerned about sugar, while 16 to 25-year-olds were least likely, at 26%.
Media reports of sugar - and particularly ‘hidden sugar’ - had led to a short-term boost in awareness, said Kantar Retail insights director Bryan Roberts. “This has prompted pledges from suppliers and retailers, but I suspect the tabloids might move on to the next nutritional uproar.”
But Professor Graham MacGregor, chairman of health body CASH, which this year launched the Action on Sugar campaign, said the market was seeing a “genuine shift in attitudes to salt and sugar.” “The issue won’t go away,” he claimed.
When it came to pricing, Roberts added that attitudes may have relaxed as suppliers increasingly used pack-size reduction rather than price hikes.
Price inflation in some food categories was virtually zero, added Ed Garner, director at Kantar Worldpanel. “The feeling that when you went shopping all the prices have gone up has subsided,” he said, adding that the mults’ current emphasis on everyday low prices had contributed to this.
The survey polled 2,483 adults between 7 and 20 May.