With 82% of Brits claiming to be actively taking steps to strengthen their immune systems, consumers are calling on supermarkets to offer more support in helping them fortify their bodies and eat better. With the nation under its third national lockdown as the new strain of COVID-19 spreads, research reveals that only 21% believe supermarkets are currently making it easier for shoppers to locate healthy produce. In response, a staggering 45% are calling on supermarkets to help them eat more healthily, as many find it difficult to navigate healthy food options within the store, with 65% claiming products aren’t labelled clearly enough. Meanwhile 30% say that online shopping makes it clearer and easier to identify nutrient-dense products.
The study, commissioned by Spoon Guru, the London-based global AI food technology start-up, found that consumers are also seeking support from the government with more than half (56%) urging the government to do more to educate consumers about how unhealthy eating can impact susceptibility to viruses and infections. A whopping 67% want the government and NHS to collaborate with the food industry to help consumers navigate healthy food options.
Since the outbreak of Coronavirus, the survey unveiled that 66% of Brits are now paying more attention to their health. More than 70% of consumers surveyed revealed that they have specific requirements which they expect retailers to help them with – 30% are seeking advice on allergy management; 27% are wanting help with plant based diets; and 22% are looking for obesity support (dieting programmes).
Despite the bid to pay more attention to their health, the findings reveal that only half (53%) are supporting the notion of ‘food being medicine’ by strengthening their immune systems with fruit and veg. The top foods Brits are choosing to support their immunity are:
- Citrus fruits (48%)
- Bananas (46%)
- Apples (and other stone fruits) (42%)
- Tomatoes (41%)
- Fresh juices (39%)
- Nuts (38%)
- Salads (38%)
- Eggs (35%)
- Grapes (33%)
- Milk and dairy products (31%)
Whilst in the midst of the worst public health scare of a generation, the findings also reveal that more than half of Brits (59%) are not taking vitamins to fortify their bodies, and 1 in 5 (19%) are still unaware of what vitamins they should be taking.
The findings also show, however, that one in 10 admit that they have been eating more indulgent foods or eating more in general to relax. Of those surveyed, only 17% have given up sugary foods, a mere 12% have gone tee-total and only 17% have ditched fast food.
Dr Adrian Hodgson, Chief Health Officer at Spoon Guru comments: “The challenge is finding the right foods and clearly retailers need to think of new innovative ways to influence the shopper journey. Shoppers need to see the foods that will help them fulfil a need such as immunity.
“It’s reassuring that many Brits are eating more immune strengthening fruit and veg with a view to aiding their health, however, it’s clear from our findings that they are missing a trick or two when it comes to wise diet choices. Fruit dominates the top ten immune supporting foods for Brits. Packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals and polyphenols fruit is essential for strong immunity. The difficult part is ensuring we all incorporate it into our diets through helpful, quick and easy recipes. Fruit juice – the nation’s fifth favourite health product – can be a good way of getting some immune supporting nutrients, but should be consumed in smaller amounts to avoid overconsumption of free sugars. Shockingly fruit juice can contain just as much, if not more, sugar than a soft drink.
Dr Hodgson continues: “Our findings uncover that while 53% of consumers know to choose certain foods to help support their immune system, there is a large proportion of people who do not. The challenge remains – how can we all select better foods such as plant based and whole foods (fruit, vegetables, fibre rich foods) to support a healthy immune system? With so much choice on the market, it really is a minefield out there, and with the current health crisis, consumers need more help than ever when it comes to navigating healthy food options. Spoon Guru’s ‘Immunity Support TAG’ was built exactly with this in mind – our technology can safely process and classify hundreds of thousands of products to help shoppers in seconds, giving consumers up and down the country the peace of mind they need in these challenging times.”
Spoon Guru’s 5 retail hacks to nudge behaviour and help shape better choices for immune support are:
- Front of store merchandising of whole foods
- Shelf talker Immune claim pull out
- Goal based shopper engagement through digital enablers like Healthy Swaps
- Curated content to nudge shoppers to make healthier choices (through print, on their websites and newsletters and via social media)
- Discount / rewards for buying immune supporting foods