from Annie Seeley, nutritionist, Food Commission, London

Sir; While the TNS Family Food Panel research made interesting reading (The Grocer, June 26, p29), its findings cannot be interpreted as providing data on “true consumption patterns”.
The research is likely to have involved participants reporting their own dietary intake. It is widely accepted that self-reported dietary surveys are notorious for under-reporting. This is especially the case for energy dense, high fat, high sugar foods.
The latest National Diet and Nutrition Survey of adults includes an in-depth analysis of energy intake and expenditure of a small sample of the subjects. It found under-reporting of, on average, 25% of calorie intake.
Data collected by MRC Human Nutrition Research showed that children under-report their energy intake by between 15-22% (increasing with age). Furthermore, research shows that obese and overweight people under-report to a greater extent than people with BMI’s below 25.
Sales and consumption trends suggest an increase in unreported calorie intake.