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Older consumers more likely to make healthy changes

It’s the time of year when the nation traditionally resolves to eat more healthily and do more exercise, but half of young Brits admit they simply can’t be bothered to lead a healthier lifestyle.

According to new research from Mintel, 49% of under-25s say that it is a sheer lack of motivation which is preventing them from following healthy habits more often.

And it’s the nation’s young women who are the most likely to say that a lack of motivation is the reason they’re not as healthy as they could be, with some six in ten (57%) women aged 16-24 admitting they are not following healthy habits more often due to this reason. This is in stark contrast to the nation’s over-65s, just 21% of whom agree lack of motivation is a contributing factor to not following a healthy lifestyle more often. Meanwhile, 51% of over-65s say they already do as much as they can to follow healthy habits, compared to just 6% of under-25s.

Cost (26%), “already doing as much as I can” (24%), lack of time (21%) and “it’s boring” (17%) make up the nation’s top five reasons for not following healthy habits more often.

Emma Clifford, associate director of food and drink at Mintel, said: “The generational difference highlighted in our research reflects the health implications of lifestyle choices are holding far more relevancy and immediacy for older consumers. Meanwhile, many health issues linked to unhealthy habits are a distant and ambiguous prospect for young adults - despite the potential threat to their future wellbeing - and so reducing the incentive to minimise these risks in their day-to-day lives. Keeping as healthy as possible is more of a pressing concern for older consumers than their younger counterparts, with fewer distractions in their path – especially for retirees.”

Despite a lack of motivation, it seems that many consumers are in favour of the carrot and the stick approach to help them improve their diet, as some six in ten (60%) Brits support taxes on unhealthy food and drink.

Consumers also want to see incentives in the form of brands offering rewards for leading a healthy lifestyle, while many workers want their employers to encourage healthy habits at work.

Emma adds: “The UK is facing an obesity timebomb and consumers recognise that decisive action is needed to combat this problem, even if it hits their pockets. Over six months after the soft drinks sugar tax was introduced and reports of a potential ‘pudding tax’ being considered, consumers are keen on the idea of taxing them in order to discourage unhealthy lifestyles. It is clear that consumers really want help in cutting through all the noise around healthy lifestyles, with more guidance in making healthier choices as well as rewards for doing so.”

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