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Need for speed: Aussies blow a third of food budget on fast food

Australians are shelling out when it comes to convenience, with consumers reportedly spending 32 per cent of their weekly food budget on quick and easy options, according to new research from NobleOak.

A survey of 1,000 Australian adults, found that those aged 18-34 years spend more on fast food weekly than any other age group, with 38 per cent of their food budget going towards this channel.

Convenience is the big driver for choosing fast food, with this age group choosing food that is easy to purchase (68 per cent), quick to cook (63 per cent) and cheap (61 per cent).

Rachel Scoular an APD Dietitian & Nutritionist said that third party delivery apps have also made it much easier, faster and more convenient for consumers to order their meals.

“I think the main contributor is convenience. Third-party ordering apps such as Menulog, Deliveroo and Uber Eats make it easier than ever to buy fast food within minutes,” Scoular said.

“With the arrival of such apps we are now spoilt for choice with fast food options and accessibility, so we’re now seeing higher consumption rates throughout the week and not just on weekends.”

Older Australians (55+ years old) are most likely to choose healthy food options, that are easy to purchase and low in fat. Scoular believes that social media is a driver for young people choosing less healthy options.

“I think there’s a large difference in lifestyle between those aged 18 to 34 and their older counterparts. We are now working longer hours with longer commutes and have less time during the week for personal tasks such as cooking. There’s also the influence and pressure of keeping up with the Joneses, driven mainly by social media. These social networking sites are often filled with images of food and restaurants. There’s greater temptation to act on these impulses and purchase fast food now than in previous years,” she said.

Many Australians unaware of link between poor diet and health issues. More than two thirds of Australians are overweight or obese, according to the 2018 National Health Survey, and obesity is the most widely recognised health issue linked to an unhealthy diet. But one in six respondents were unaware of the link.

More than half of respondents (55 per cent) admitted to eating less than one portion of fruit or vegetables per day. And only 17 per cent report eating the recommended five portions a day.

Last week, state and federal ministers in Australia ordered a review to consider mandatory “added sugar” labelling, which could lead to warning labels on sugary beverages in a bid to lower Australia’s obesity rate.

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