More than one in three adults make food choices based on social media

MORE than a third of adults admit to making food choices based on information from social media.

Drinking water instead of snacks, setting drinking limits and cutting out all snacks are some of the top changes people have already made to their diets due to the influence of social media.

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People are turning to social media for diet advice more than ever – but is it a good idea?

While more than a quarter of adults cut out all bread, more than one in five cut out dairy altogether and 23% skipped breakfast.

But, of the 2,000 adults surveyed, only 28% checked for supporting facts each time.

The research was commissioned by Arla to encourage people to look at the full life cycle of food and agriculture before making drastic decisions to remove entire food groups from their diets.

It also revealed that 27% of adults now believe it is right to completely cut animal products from their diets, although 65% admit they would rather consume dairy products than alternatives.

Gen Z was found to feel the most pressure to make decisions about diet, with 55% using social media to inform their decisions.

And 49% were ashamed to order dairy products in public in front of their peers.

But despite growing demand to eat more “sustainably,” 41% are confused about what exactly constitutes sustainable eating.

Debbie Wilkins, an Arla farmer in Gloucestershire, said: “Dairy farming can often be misunderstood, particularly when quick decisions are made based on what we see on social media.

“When it starts to play a role in our decision-making process, especially when it comes to our health and well-being, it’s important that we step back and look at the bigger picture.

“Considering things like the love I have for my farm, for my cows, all nature and the environment when I consider the industry as a whole.

“The ‘all or nothing’ attitude that so many groups and brands advocate is not always necessary. It’s important to use the natural nutrition we have, rather than relying heavily on processed foods.

“Dairy farming is not as black and white as our beloved herds and it is disturbing how dairy can be so easily misunderstood.

“Any food production will create emissions, but it’s important to consider the nutritional value of food as well as how it supports the natural environment.”

The research also found that almost one in five adults admit to relying on social media as a legitimate source of information, with 15% saying they consume information through memes.

And 36% passed off opinions they read on social media as their own, according to OnePoll data.

Split opinions were also revealed on what makes a diet sustainable, with eating locally sourced foods (54%) and swapping animal protein for plant-based alternatives (41%) seen as part of the criteria.

Others cited it as the nutrition choice that was produced with the least environmental impact (35%).

It also emerged that 12% admitted to only ordering dairy alternatives in public and then reverting to dairy at home.

And almost one in 10 were ashamed to order dairy products with their teas and coffees in public, feeling pressured by their peers to choose alternatives.

Graham Wilkinson, Group Senior Agriculture Director at Arla, said: “We know agriculture is not without its challenges and when it comes to dairy farming and the climate crisis, we have many hills to climb to achieve our goal of reaching net zero carbon by 2050. .

“That’s why our farmers are taking action and striving to make real change through several initiatives to reduce emissions, for a stronger planet for years to come.

“As a cooperative, Arla has multiple farmer standards that we continually challenge ourselves with, with everything from animal welfare, to the quality of our products and our environmental impact.

“We constantly measure ourselves against these standards to ensure that our customers can be confident that we are aiming for the highest quality products and adding them to the natural nutrition we can get from dairy products.”

About Keith Johnson

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