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Celebrate National Soup Week and Beat Winter Blues

Media Release
20 June, 2005

Celebrate National Soup Week and Beat the Winter Blues

New research released for National Soup Week shows New Zealanders think indulging in comfort foods is one of the best things about winter. A survey of more than 1,000 people demonstrates that winter affects the way we feel, with 82 percent saying it has an impact on their mood. However, 50 percent nominate eating comfort food as one of the ways they make themselves feel better during the colder and darker months.

Wattie’s National Soup Week, runs from June 20th to 26th, celebrating the benefits of one of the best-loved comfort foods.

Well-known psychologist John Aiken agrees that winter can trigger a bout of the ‘blues’. “People often have mood and behaviour changes during the winter that can involve them feeling down and lethargic, sleeping longer hours, having poor concentration, reduced productivity, withdrawing socially and gaining weight.”

This was supported in the survey results that found 64% of people felt more tired during winter, 60% exercised less, 52% overate and 43% slept more. The survey results also showed that people tried to make themselves feel good during winter by doing a range of activities on their own. These included staying inside and lighting a fire, taking a hot bath, sleeping longer and eating more.

However, John Aiken notes that these activities alone can be somewhat counterproductive when trying to improve your mood.

“The danger with these activities is that they are solitary and tend to take people away from the types of strategies that can help beat the winter blues, such as engaging in daily physical activity, socialising with friends, pursuing group hobbies and interests and completing outdoor projects. So when trying to keep upbeat during the winter months, remember: lots of physical activity, plenty of socialising and healthy eating.”

Making healthy choices to combat an increased appetite is essential during winter. The survey revealed that soup is a favourite winter food. Wattie’s senior nutritionist, Julie Dick, says many soups are low in fat yet are a filling and comforting choice. “Soup is a great way to satisfy your appetite without overeating during winter and is a healthier option than many other comfort foods.”

Four main centre City Missions will receive a selection of Wattie’s soups as part of National Soup Week to use in local food banks.

National Soup Week, sponsored by Wattie’s Very Special® soup, runs from June 20th to the 26th and includes Tuesday June 21st – the shortest day of the year.


National Soup Week Fact Sheet follows…

Research undertaken in April 2005 via the Food In A Minute website, 1076 respondents.

June 2005

How we feel about winter: a snapshot

The National Soup Week Survey 2005, of more than 1,000 people has uncovered some intriguing information about people’s thoughts, feelings and behaviour during winter.*

What do we hate about winter?

48% of people don’t like winter. The main reasons are:
early dark nights (62%)
the cold (55%)
less time spent outside being active (46%)
rain (43%)
weight gain (35%).

82% of people say their mood is affected during winter. They feel:
tired (64%)
irritable (30%)
less able to deal with stress (25%)
sad (15%).

68% of people say their behaviour is affected in winter. They:
exercise less (60%)
overeat (52%)
sleep more (43%).

What makes winter good?

6.3% of people feel winter has no redeeming features whatsoever , BUT 52% of people enjoy winter!

These people say they love:
sitting in front of a fire or heater (42.9%)
crisp, cool days (17.4%)
getting cosy in warm clothes or in bed (16.1%)
indoor activities (15.8%).

10% of respondents enjoy the chance to indulge in some under-the duvet activities when it’s cold!

To make themselves feel good in winter, the top three things people do are:
light the fire (64%)
take a hot bath (46%)
eat comfort food (50%).

Food – the best thing about winter?

One of the most pleasurable winter activities is the enjoyment of warm, hearty winter comfort foods.

Many people say eating soup is one of their favourite things to do. Of all the comfort foods enjoyed during winter soup comes out on top with 41.3% of people enjoying its warm, hearty nourishment.

Pumpkin, Vegetable, Tomato and Chicken are our favourite flavours.

Most people (62%) say they enjoy soup more than once a week during winter, more than during the summer months because it’s:
warm (93%)
convenient and easy to prepare (93%)
healthier than other comfort foods (57%)
tasty (56%)
a good source of vegetables (51%).

Hot on the heels of soups in winter eating are roasts, casseroles and stews.

Not to be outdone, sweet foods are next on the list, and those of us with a sweet tooth make ourselves feel good by munching on:
puddings and desserts

We’re divided on the subject of winter. Love it or hate it, it affects most of us, and we’re not afraid to change our behaviour to beat the winter blues.

Winter-haters exercise less, sleep and eat more. Winter-lovers snuggle up in front of the fire and revel in wearing extra layers.

One thing is clear, eating soup is one of the most enjoyable things about winter for many people, whether we like the chilly season or not.

* Survey conducted April 2005 via the Food In A Minute website. 1076 respondents: 87% female, mainly between 25 and 55 years old.

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