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Checking Food Labels Not A High Priority For Kiwis

Checking Food Labels Not A High Priority For Kiwi Consumers

Auckland, New Zealand, 8 October 2008: Despite many New Zealanders saying they mostly understand the nutritional labeling on food packaging (61%), only 12 percent of kiwis always bother to check labels according to an Internet survey on Food Labeling and Nutrition conducted in 51 countries, released by The Nielsen Company.

While New Zealand consumers may profess to know what they’re looking at, scanning labels isn’t quite second nature yet, with kiwis lagging behind the rest of the world as far as always checking food labels. According to the Nielsen survey one in five (24%) global consumers say they always check nutritional info when buying packaged goods compared to only 11 percent of New Zealanders. However, 45 percent of kiwi consumers will check labels when they are thinking about buying a product for the first time. Only 12 percent of global consumers said they would check food labels when they are buying for their children, with New Zealand consumers slightly higher at 17%.
(Chart 1).

Keeping an eye on fat and sugar seems to be a key motivation for kiwi consumers to check the nutritional labels, with 46 and 38 percent respectively of kiwis regularly checking labels for fat and sugar content. (Chart 2).

Checking for artificial ingredients is much less of a concern for New Zealanders, with 25 percent of kiwis saying they regularly check labels for additives and only 22% for preservatives compared respectively with 39 percent and 42 percent globally.

Kiwi consumers also seem more relaxed as far as keeping an eye on carbohydrate levels with 21 percent checking labels compared with 33 percent globally; likewise calorie intake does not seem to be of great concern, with only 24 percent of New Zealanders checking labels for calorie levels compared with 44 percent of global consumers.

“Our New Zealand survey findings show that while many kiwis seem to be making an effort to keep an eye on the food ‘baddies’ such as fat and sugar content, we are not getting the full nutritional picture of a product by paying less attention to calorie and carbohydrate content,” said Susanna Baggaley, Executive Director, Client Service, The Nielsen Company New Zealand.

“All components of a product are important to review – especially as obesity is an issue for many New Zealanders[i]. The need for clear and educational labeling has become one of the most debated and controversial topics in recent few years and the pressure is on the food industry to take greater responsibility for educating people about what they’re eating,” said Baggaley.

Chart 1

would you check
nutritional information - global vs nz
Click to enlarge

Chart 2

how often do you
check labelling for the following
Click to enlarge

About The Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey
The Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey, conducted by Nielsen Customized Research, was conducted in April 2008 among 28,253 internet users in 51 markets from Europe, Asia Pacific, North America and the Middle East. The largest half-yearly survey of its kind, the Nielsen Global Online Consumer Confidence and Opinion Survey provides insight into current confidence levels, spending habits/intentions and the major concerns of consumers across the globe. The Nielsen Consumer Confidence Index is developed based on consumers’ confidence in the job market, status of their personal finances and readiness to spend.

About The Nielsen Company

The Nielsen Company is a global information and media company with leading market positions in marketing information (ACNielsen), media information (Nielsen Media Research), online intelligence (NetRatings and BuzzMetrics), mobile measurement, trade shows and business publications (Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, Adweek). The privately held company is active in more than 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA. For more information, please visit,


[i] The major drivers of the increase in obesity rates have been changing dietary and physical activity patterns, reflecting an environment that promotes the overconsumption of energy-dense foods and drinks and limits the opportunities for physical activity.
Source: Ministry of Health, Public Health Intelligence, The 2008 Social Report from the Ministry of Social Development

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