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Most Malaysians want to eat healthy but find it too costly

16 May 2019 / 10:40 H.

PETALING JAYA: Most Malaysians want to maintain a healthy diet but they find that it is much more expensive to achieve a healthy diet.

A survey conducted by Food Industry Asia (FIA) and research firm IGD finds that 99% of respondents are actively trying to improve their consumption habits, however 71% say it is a lot more expensive to eat healthy.

IGD is a not-for-profit research and training organisation.

Over 76% of respondents agreed that F&B companies should tweak their recipes to make products healthier as long as the taste remains the same or better.

Malaysians are not entirely satisfied with the options available, with only 3% believing that F&B companies offer sufficient healthy food options with no further changes needed from the industry.

The “Healthier Product Reformulation in Malaysia” survey was conducted on consumers and food and beverage (F&B) businesses to better understand behavioural trends and perceptions of solutions to delivering improved nutrition such as reformulation and product labelling.

“Over the past few years, F&B companies in Malaysia have taken great strides in their reformulation journey as they actively seek out ways to improve the nutrition of their products for the benefit of consumers,” FIA executive director Matthew Kovac said.

“Nutrition is one of the key drivers of product choice among Malaysian consumers and our study revealed that 88% of companies have already embarked on reformulating their products to meet this demand, while 12% are planning to get started.”

Malaysian consumers also expect F&B operators to provide them with healthy options.

“A vast majority of companies recognise the industry has a role to play in driving consumer choices by providing healthier products,” Kovac said.

“However, to accelerate the industry’s progress, more can also be done in conjunction with the government.”

He said 88% of companies indicated that greater financial incentive would help to encourage research and development (R&D) activities for new product development and reformulation.

IGD Chief Executive Susan Barratt said her organisation is working closely with the F&B industry to help them meet the needs of the public through our research and best practice.

“The results of our recent joint study with FIA highlight the importance of health to consumers and the industry in Malaysia,” she said.

“Although a majority of consumers are keen to adopt a healthy diet and take responsibility for their consumption habits, they also want companies to play a part through their reformulation efforts.

“We believe there is a substantial opportunity to enhance healthier product development and address key challenges facing the industry.

“The research provides insights into how the industry and government can work together to achieve this, and I look forward to seeing how the landscape transforms in the future.”

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