Commissioned by PR agency Ingredient Communications and conducted by market researcher Asia Opinions, approximately 1,300 consumers from Asia and the Western hemisphere (including Australia and New Zealand) were surveyed on their views on a range of nutrition issues.
About seven in 10 of the Asian consumers surveyed (68 percent) said they were ‘very interested’ in nutrition and healthy eating, compared with just 38 percent of the westerners.
Levels of interest in nutrition were highest in India, where 82 percent said they were very interested in healthy eating, followed by the Philippines (71 percent). But in some western countries interest in a healthy diet was very low. Only 36 percent of respondents in the UK and 26 percent in Australia said they were very interested in nutrition and healthy eating, although in the US the figure was as high as 71 percent.
The findings highlight the extent to which views about diet and health differ between East and West. For example, two in five (39 percent) respondents in Asia considered eating less meat to be important to achieving a healthy diet. But only 25 percent of westerners felt the same way.
Accordingly, a vegetarian or vegan health claim is nearly three times more likely to influence a consumer to buy a product in Asia than it is a consumer in the west (28 percent vs 10 percent, respectively).
Richard Clarke, director of Ingredient Communications, said: “When it comes to healthy eating, East and West are worlds apart, even in this era of globalisation. This emphasises the importance of ‘glocalisation’.”
The term refers to a combination of ‘globalisation’ and ‘localisation’, where products and services are developed and distributed globally, but also fashioned to accommodate the needs of the specific local consumers.
“Nutrition businesses need a clear strategy that taps into worldwide mega-trends, but must remain agile enough to adapt their approach in individual markets as required,” reasoned Mr Clarke.
Neil Cary, founder of Asia Opinions, said: “Asian consumers are well known for their knowledge of and passion for food, and this research shows just how much they care about nutrition and healthy eating. Food tends to play a more central role in Asian culture than in the west, and this is reflected in attitudes to diet and nutrition.”