The Canadian Council of Food and Nutrition (CCFN) released its 2009 Tracking Nutrition Trends: A 20 Year History report late last month.
The report found that food product labels continue to be Canadians’ most credible and highly used source of information on food and nutrition.
But, according to the CCFN, the report also found that while food labels are listed as a highly credible source, various statistics and Canadians’ obesity and other health-related issues suggest that Canadians still don’t fully understand the information presented on them.
Based on the findings, the president and CEO of CCFN, Francy Pillo-Blocka, is calling on government, health associations, the food industry and all health-related sectors to step up education of food nutrition labelling to help Canadians understand what’s in their food.
Tracking nutrition trends
CCFN has been tracking various trends of sources of nutrition information for the past 20 years and product labels have consistently been rated as the number-1 source.
In 2008, 68 per cent of Canadians reported product labels as their prime source of nutrition information, followed by the Internet at 51 per cent, and magazines, books and newspapers at 46 per cent.
Seeking specific information
The report also shows that Canadians tend to focus on specific information when looking at food product labels.
In 2008, ingredients (80 per cent), best before date (74 per cent) and nutrition facts tables (71 per cent) were the information that consumers consulted the most.
The report also provides key insights into emerging trends and themes, including sources of health and nutrition information, understanding of trans fat, Canadians’ self perception of their health and eating habits – 1994 vs. 2008, knowledge of nutrition, motivations driving food choice, and specific nutrients – 2001 vs. 2008.