According to a nationwide survey run by Nairn’s Oatcakes, more than half of Kiwi consumers have bought something in the past 12 months because it was a supposed superfood.
The survey was conducted online with more than 700 people responding to questions about their thoughts on popular superfoods.
Turmeric was singled out with 33 per cent saying it is the best-known superfood, followed by coconut (22 per cent), oats (20 per cent), blueberries (19 per cent), Maca (13 per cent) and avocado (10 percent). Interestingly, both kale and wheatgrass lagged behind with just 6.25 percent of people naming them as top superfoods.
There appeared to be some disagreement over whether superfoods are as healthy as they appear with only 21 percent saying that superfoods are scientifically proven to have health benefits. Fourteen percent were of the opinion that there are no proven benefits. Almost 60 per cent replied that it depended on the food and that sometimes health claims could be supported with scientific studies.
Perceived health benefits included more energy (56 per cent), mental alertness (56 per cent), detoxification (50 per cent), better skin (50 per cent), anti-aging (43 per cent) and weight loss (19 per cent).
New Zealand spokesperson for Nairn’s, Jaimee Freeman, said: “We ran the survey as oats often seem to be one of the more underappreciated health foods and we were keen to understand how they stacked up perception-wise against the trendier superfoods. We were very pleased to see that oats held their own, even coming ahead of foods like kale and wheat germ.
“Hopefully, that means that awareness of oats as a natural health food is growing,” she adds. “It’s important to make an informed choice and opt for foods that have been proven to keep you healthy – regardless of whether they are the latest superfood or not.
“Oats are an easy win if you’re trying to eat foods which are as close to their natural state as possible. Oats are packed full of nutrients, vitamins and minerals and studies have shown them to have many benefits including helping to reduce cholesterol and keeping your gut healthy," says Freeman. "Per 100g, wholegrain oats actually have 205 per cent more fibre, 295 per cent more protein and 225 per cent more iron than kale. However, they’re still not as popular in New Zealand as they could be. We only consume five per cent of the total global oat harvest.”