Overweight Irish seek healthier food in shops in bid to lose weight
Over half of Irish people are trying to lose weight and retail figures show people have been making the switch to healthier products.
Some 62pc of people here consider themselves overweight, and there have been big increases in sales of healthier products such as nuts, brown rice and soya milk in the last two years.
The Nielsen Global Health and Wellness Survey polled more than 30,000 people worldwide, and used grocery market sales data to track the products they're buying more of as part of their weight-loss bid.
It showed 54pc of people here were trying to lose weight, which was third highest out of the countries surveyed, with 75pc aiming to do this by cutting down on chocolate and sugary treats.
Some 40pc of Irish consumers said they were changing their diet to eat less processed food, which indicated more good intentions than the rest of Europe, where only 29pc made these claims.
Irish people were also more likely to follow a weight-loss programmes - one in 10 dieters said they were using Weight Watchers or other slimming programmes, but were less likely to go for the quick fix by consuming diet pills or shakes.
Nielsen's sales figures from Irish supermarkets and convenience stores have showed major shifts in consumer purchases over the last two years.
For example, sales of porridge and oats are up by 4pc to €18m and there has been an 18pc dip in sales of standard breakfast cereals.
Sales of brown rice, meanwhile, soared by 39pc, whereas sales of regular white rice fell by 8pc.
Surprisingly, however, sales of wholemeal flour fell by 12pc, but sales of spelt and gluten-free flour soared by 40pc, although they still remain a very small part of the market. Meanwhile, sales of non-dairy milk alternatives - such as soya, almond or rice milk - have grown by 40pc in-store since 2012, appealing to those who are lactose intolerant or following diets such as the Paleo plan.
They might also appeal to slimmers because, for example, a glass of unsweetened almond milk contains a quarter of the calories of low-fat milk, Nielsen noted.
Sales of dairy spreads, meanwhile, plummeted by 11pc since 2012, while butter sales stagnated.
However, sales of coconut oil soared by 869pc and consumers bought 14pc more rapeseed and sesame oil.
Irish people are also plumping more for nuts and 21pc plan to buy more, with sales of seeds soaring by over 80pc.
Meanwhile, sales of mineral water are up 7pc, but sales of fizzy drinks are down 5pc.