Skip to main content

Eating Well Programme- Choosing Better Survey Results Published

Derry City and Strabane District Council’s partner in Food and Nutrition work, the Food Standards Agency (Northern Ireland), has published the seventh wave of its Eating Well Choosing Better Tracker Survey. The survey monitors understanding and knowledge of recommended daily calorie intake, use of the traffic light label and attitudes towards reformulation and calorie information among NI consumers. The Eating Well Choosing Better programme supports small and medium sized food businesses to reduce the calorie, sugar, saturated fat and salt content of the food they produce, sell or serve, as well as reducing portion sizes to help consumers make healthier choices.

The key findings from the survey were: 

· 87% of participants recognised the traffic light label and 79% reported understanding what traffic light labels are for.

· 64% of consumers choose foods with healthier traffic light colours always/most times.

·The majority of those surveyed would be more likely to buy food reduced in sugar (64%) and at least half would be more likely to buy food reduced in saturated fat (51%) and salt (50%) compared to the regular version.

· 56% or more participants found it difficult to choose healthier food from a range of settings including takeaways (78%), leisure facilities such as cinemas and bowling alleys (72%), fast food restaurants (71%), restaurants and pubs (64%), local/corner shops, newsagents or garage forecourts (57%) and cafés and sandwich shops (56%).

· There is consumer demand for healthier food to be offered in several food settings, such as takeaways (51%), fast food restaurants (49%), restaurants and pubs (42%), leisure facilities such as cinemas and bowling alleys (41%) and vending machines (35%).

· 21% of male and 20% of female participants are aware of the correct recommended daily calorie intake for their gender.

· Males and those in a lower socioeconomic group are significantly less likely to actively seek healthier options when food shopping and eating out; find or use nutritional information on food packets and want to see increased availability of food lower in saturated fat, sugar and salt. 

For more information on the survey, please visit

If your business is interested in helping consumers make healthier choices, you can make a difference by joining the Calorie Wise scheme. Please contact the food safety team for more information on [email protected] or visit

The Menucal tool for businesses is used to calculate the amount of energy in food and drink on a menu. This enables consumers to make more informed and healthier choices when eating out. The tool can also be used to help food businesses comply with legal requirements to manage and record allergen information. Visit for more information.

Want to know more about what is happening in the council area?

Enter your email address and get them direct to your inbox