EUFIC UK Consumer Study Part 2

Levels of processing (answer to question 8)

The participants were shown a selection of apple products and asked how processed they thought they were. They rated them from 1 to 4, with 1 being the least processed and 4 the most processed. The whole apple was rated the least processed and the pie got the highest score.

illustrated bar chart showing the level of processing on the y axis, and the product (whole fruit, sliced, dried, juice, jam, sauce, pie) on the x axis. The scores rise from 1.2 for the whole fruit, to 3.5 for the pie.

Figure 1. Bar chart showing the scores participants gave to a range of apple products. The asterisk denotes a p <0.05 in comparison with the least processed product (whole fruit).

Finally, the consumers were asked to rate a selection of products in four categories, ranking them on how ‘processed’ and ‘healthful’ they thought they were.

4 'Grains' products: a selection of home made breads, a sack of flour, a pile of biscuits, a range of different pasta shapes; 4 'meat & fish' products: a tin of sardines, plate of smoked salmon, selection of cured meats including sausages, a selection of fresh meat and fish including fish fillets and chicken legs; 4 'dairy' products: a bottle and glass of milk, a selection of cheeses, a block of butter, a bowl of yoghurt with fresh fruit on top; 4 'fruit and vegetable' products: cans of sweetcorn, beans and pes; a jar of jam with some fresh strawberries, a bag of peas and a bag of salad

Processed vs. healthful (answer to question 9)

In this question, researchers wanted to evaluate whether participants perceived a relationship between the level of processing and the food’s healthfulness. As with the previous question, the idea was to rate the products in four different food categories on a scale of 1 to 4: 1 indicating the lowest and 4 the highest level of processing or healthfulness.

In all four categories, the difference between the product that was rated least processed and the other three, higher rated products was significant. In general, foods rated as more processed were perceived as less healthful, and vice versa. Only in the case of dairy products was no correlation found between the perceived level of processing and healthfulness.

4 illustrated bar charts: The first shows the level of processing/healthfulness on the y axis and four different dairy products on the x axis (milk, cheese, butter and yoghurt). Milk has the lowest processing score (2.2) and butter and yoghurt equal highest (2.7). Butter has the lowest healthful score (2.0) and yoghurt the highest (3.6). The other processing score was cheese (2.8) and the other healthfulness scores were milk (3.3) and cheese (3.0)

The second shows the level of processing/healthfulness on the y axis and four different fruit/vegetable products on the x axis (canned vegetables, jam, frozen peas, bagged salad). Bagged salad has the lowest processing score (1.7) and jam the highest (3.0). Jam has the lowest healthfulness score (1.7) and frozen peas and bagged salad have the equal highest (3.4). The other processing scores were canned vegetables (2.8) and frozen peas (1.9). The other healthfulness score was canned vegetables (2.6)

The third shows the level of processing/healthfulness on the y axis and four different meat/fish products on the x axis (sardines, smoked salmon, cured meat, fresh meat & fish). Cured meat has the highest processing score (3.1) and fresh meat/fish the lowest (1.3). Cured meat scored lowest in terms of healthfulness (2.0) and sardines and fresh meat & fish were equal highest (3.1). The other processing scores were sardines (2.1) and smoked salmon (2.5). The other healthfulness score was smoked salmon (2.4)

The fourth shows the level of processing/healthfulness on the y axis and four different grain-based products on the x axis (bread, flour, biscuits and pasta). Biscuits score the highest for processing (3.5) and flour the lowest (2.2). Pasta scores the highest for healthfulness (2.9) and biscuits the lowest (1.5). The other processing scores were pasta (2.7) and bread (2.9). The other healthfulness scores were bread (2.6) and flour (2.7)

Figure 2. Average scores given to a range of products for food processing and healthfulness. The asterisk denotes a p <0.05 in comparison with the least processed or healthful product.

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This article is from the free online course:

How is Food Made? Understanding Processed Food

EIT Food