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Healthy eating – Are we getting better? Or worse?


Apart from – or in addition to - what your mother used to tell you and what common sense would suggest, several basic rules are generally known to apply to a healthy diet: 'five-a-day' fruit and vegetable servings, two portions of fish or seafood per week, plenty of fibre. Combine these with a decrease in salt, sugar and saturated fat intake and you should be just fine, right?
Many people find today's busy lifestyle makes it difficult to maintain a healthy diet. Accordingly, the food and beverage industry has developed hundreds of products designed to enable on-the-go eating. Single-serve snacks or packaged meals are easier to incorporate into an active day at school or work. Remember when drinking yoghurt with fruit and cereal bits was first introduced on the market, so breakfast could be fitted into a smaller time slot before rushing off from home?
With obesity and diabetes on the rise in many countries around the globe, processed foods and carbonated beverages are only some of the products that deserve a closer scrutiny. Many can definitely endanger your your waistline if consumed too frequently. It's the recipe that does it: in order to achieve a certain mouthfeel, a longer shelf-life or other pre-defined characteristics, the F&B industry is obliged to adapt its ingredients and the big players run huge R&D units exclusively for this task. It's no secret that our diet influences our overall well-being considerably. But are we willing to cook fresh meals every day instead of grabbing handy RTE alternatives? How about having pizza? Easy to make, quick, cheap?
Currently, American media are buzzing with news about a recent study which claims that a slice of pizza is a healthier breakfast than a bowl of cereal because it contains more protein and less sugar. The findings would appear to approve indulging in our favourite food first thing in the morning. And guilt-free, too! Sounds appealing. However, you may have to consider the size of the serving – and check the other nutrients first, too.
Reducing calories, fat, sodium and sugar invariably introduces consumers to the free-from category, which we reported on in our issue II/2019. According to, convenience store leaders 7-Eleven and Wawa are currently testing a range of good-for-you products and concepts including gluten-free, naturally
sweetened, dairy-free and more. Reportedly, the store has even adapted its famous 'Slurpee': new recipes are to contain ingredients such as turmeric, cucumber, black carrot and others. Rather sounds like the basics listed above, doesn't it? Back to square one.