28 May 2020 | Analysis
Less than a quarter of Asia Pacific consumers scored passing marks in a general nutrition knowledge quiz
Premier global nutrition company, Herbalife Nutrition, today released findings from its Asia Pacific Nutrition Myths Survey 2020, which revealed that social media was the most frequently used source of nutrition information among Asia Pacific consumers. While close to seven in 10 (68%) use social media on a monthly basis to retrieve information related to nutrition, the prevalence of nutrition misinformation and myths online was found to be the top barrier preventing consumers from gaining accurate nutrition knowledge.
To garner a better understanding of the level of nutrition knowledge among Asia Pacific consumers and uncover some of the more commonly-believed nutrition myths among consumers today, Herbalife Nutrition conducted the Asia Pacific Nutrition Myths Survey 2020, with 5,500 respondents from markets including Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam in March 2020.
In a general nutrition knowledge quiz administered together with the survey, less than a quarter (23%) of the respondents answered half or more of the questions correctly. Not only did this point to the overall low levels of nutrition knowledge among consumers in the region, the survey also revealed that less than four in 10 (38%) consumers expressed strong confidence in their personal nutrition knowledge.
"With the myriad of nutrition information sources and the prevalence of nutrition myths, it is more challenging than ever for consumers to obtain accurate information, and differentiate nutrition facts from fiction. Consumers' low scores in the nutrition general knowledge quiz further underscore the importance of obtaining accurate knowledge from credible sources," said Stephen Conchie, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Herbalife Nutrition. "With insights from this survey, we want to uncover some of the key nutrition information gaps, and help close these gaps to empower consumers with the nutrition knowledge they need to achieve their desired health outcomes."
Social Media: The Most Frequently Used, Least Trusted Source of Nutrition Information
When consumers were asked about the sources they use to retrieve nutrition-related information:
Although social media was the most frequently used channel, consumers expressed lowest levels of confidence in its credibility to provide accurate nutrition information.
When it comes to the usefulness of the nutrition information sources, less than half of the consumers (48%) said that the information retrieved from social media was very or extremely useful. Instead, consumers find the nutrition information retrieved from healthcare professionals (74%), nutrition companies (60%), as well as media publications and websites (53%) to be more helpful for them.
Online Misinformation and Myths: Top Barrier to Gaining Accurate Nutrition Knowledge
While more than seven in 10 (72%) Asia Pacific consumers said that it was very or extremely important to be educated with proper and accurate nutritional knowledge, only three in 10 (27%) admitted that they are well informed in the area of nutrition. Key barriers include:
Bridging the Nutrition Knowledge Gaps in Asia Pacific
With healthcare professionals and nutrition companies being seen as the most credible sources of nutrition information, this revealed a need for both parties to do more to empower consumers with the information and tools they need to reap the full benefits of good nutrition.
From the survey, the majority of Asia Pacific consumers (65%) expressed strong interest in receiving nutrition advice from healthcare professionals to improve their well-being, and more than four in five (83%) want to receive more proactive nutrition advice from them. As such, a collective effort by the government, healthcare institutions and the nutrition industry would be more effective in educating consumers on the basics and benefits of good nutrition, to help them along on their journey towards healthy living.