Data collected from 500 people throughout Brazil about how they use the internet for nutrition and healthy eating information showed that specialized sites were the second most accessed source, with 41%. Survey respondents also used magazines (38%), Instagram (32%), and blogs (31%).
The survey’s results were published in the June edition of the BIO Magazine, a specialized publication from Nestlé that is directed at nutritionists.
“One of the most relevant topics that the research has addressed - and which has been the focus of debates, stories and countless discussions on the internet and day to day - is about how people filter information disseminated through the internet, specifically on social networks,” stated Nestlé Brazil.
“The survey shows that 46% of respondents said that they always check the sources and veracity of news about food in the networks; 45% checked at times and 9% said they never checked.”
The most trusted source of information – the one with the highest level of confidence – were blogs by health professionals, followed by reports published in newspapers, magazines, websites, TV and radio.
Drilling down into the subject, the survey also revealed that the source of the information depended on the specific health goal, with 32% of respondent saying they sought out nutritionists when it came to information about diet and weight loss, followed by specialized sites (16%) and physicians (15%).
A similar result was observed for infant food, with nutritionists again the main source of information (21%), followed by specialized sites (19%) and doctor (18%). However, Mauro Fisberg, coordinator of the Feeding Difficulties Center at the Pensi Institute / Sabará Children's Hospital in Sao Paulo, expressed concern for the 10% of participants who listed social networks and bloggers / youtubers to learn about infant nutrition.
He asked if these people have scientific support for their claims. “Especially in these cases, a lot of damage is caused the spread of restrictive diets,” he said. “Lay people proclaim intense restriction of gluten, meat, milk, and for everyone. This turns out to be a public health problem. Anemia, for example, is an emergency national.”
The survey also asked the respondents to rate their level of concern regarding healthy eating, with 42% of people saying they were somewhat preoccupied, with 44% saying they were “concerned” and 14% “worried”.
Communicating with nutritionists
A spokesperson for Nestlé told FoodNavigator-LATAM that they ran the survey because it is important for Nestlé to understand not only market trends but also the consumer behaviour, in order to contribute to providing better information about nutrition and helping people making healthier choices.
“One of the communication channels of Nestlé that brings information based on surveys is BIO magazine,” they explained. “The publication is focused on nutrition professionals so they have access to important data on people's nutritional choices. It is also important to remark: to achieve the company's 2030 ambition (to help 50 million children live healthier lives), Nestlé addresses under-nutrition through micronutrient fortification.
“Every day, our brand communications reach billions of individuals and families,” added the spokesperson. “This presents an opportunity for us to help making a positive impact on people’s lives by inspiring them to adopt healthier ways of living.
“Those are initiatives that shows how the company is always in contact with its consumers, as Nestlé takes seriously its responsibility to promote its products truthfully and reliably, enabling people to make informed decisions about their nutrition.”