Asia more health conscious than West

Related tags Nutrition Asia

Spending on health foods has been identified as the number one
consumer trend in Asia although overweight and obesity percentages
are set to rise, according to a survey released by TNS Asiapanel,
reports Claire Johnston.

More consumers than ever in Asia are making a move towards a healthier lifestyle, with a recent TNS survey revealing that spending on health foods is the number one 'mega trend' in consumer behaviour.

Based on the responses of a panel of nearly 40,000 households across different countries in Asia, the biggest concern amongst shoppers is to eat healthy - evidenced by significant year on year growth in spending on health foods.

Revealed to be the most health conscious were the Taiwanese consumers. In 2004, over 50 per cent of the total grocery bill of each Taiwanese household was spent on healthy products, such as fruit & vegetables, RTD tea, vitamins, cereals, yogurt products and liquid milk.

Vietnam also showed similar increases being the country in which more households than any other - 90 per cent - expressed a willingness to pay more for health foods and drinks.

Comparing the percentage of overweight or obese by country, Asia is fairing much better than the Western World - although it seems to be catching up as the survey reveals a significant growth for snack foods purchased by consumers in several countries.

"Health and well being is a worldwide concern and whilst obesity levels across Asia remain relatively low in comparison to western nations, the positive trend in consumer spending on more health conscious food products across the region is heartening -- especially in Taiwan and Vietnam where the latest figures point to a recognition that action needs to be taken if obesity is to be reduced and prevented respectively. However, for countries such as Malaysia and Thailand where obesity, snacking and convenience foods are on the increase, the findings should serve as a wake up call"​, said director of TNS Asiapanel, Helen Passingham-Hughes.

With the survey showing a massive 91 per cent year on year increase of snacking products purchased in Vietnam, the growth in snack foods could potentially see Asia's currently low incidence of obesity rise.

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