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Half of Russians consider they eat healthy foods, but only every tenth respondent thinks that the health benefits of food and food nutritional properties are related to each other.

MOSCOW, December 3, 2019. Russian Public Opinion Research Centre (VCIOM) presents the data of a survey devoted to the dietary habits of Russians and their views on healthy foods. The survey was conducted in the framework of the Bayer Barometer project.

Is Russian diet healthy?

Russian nutritional breakdown looks as follows: bread, bakery products and vegetable oils (91% of Russians consume them at least twice a week). Russians also consume fresh vegetables (87%), milk and dairy products (81%), cereals and pasta (81%) at least twice a week. Eighty percent of Russians eat meat; 74% also like fruits and new-gathered berries (they eat this at least twice a week).

Fifty-six percent of respondents eat confectionery several times a week; the same share of respondents, with the same frequency, eats sausage and meat products; one-third of Russians prefer fresh or frozen fish (29%), or semi-finished fish and semi-finished meat products (27%).

Russian opinions on how they assess their dietary habits are equally divided: 48% think they eat healthy foods; the same number says the opposite. At the same time, those who say they eat healthy foods are mainly respondents aged 45-59 (52%) and over 60 (35%). On the contrary, young Russians aged 25-34 say they eat unhealthy foods (56%).


What is considered by Russians as healthy diet is avoiding unhealthy products (43%). About one-third of Russians consider it healthy diet to eat small portions 4 or 5 times a day (35%), to drink enough water (35%), to eat only organic foods (33%), to eat in moderation (31%) and to pay attention to ingredients (30%). At the same time, those who support these measures (except for eating only organic foods) are mainly women rather than men.


In the minds of Russians, healthy eating habits are mainly associated with the control of the diet in terms of nutrition facts (carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals) (22%).

Healthy products are …

Only 8% of Russians consider that healthy products are those which have nutritive properties; 15% believe that healthy products are foods rich in vitamins. According to most of Russians, only non-GMO foods are healthy (45%). Another one-third of Russians point to foods which contain natural ingredients (27%) and do not contain agricultural chemicals or pesticides (26%). Foods with artificial trans fats or too much sugar or salt inside cannot be considered healthy (21% and 18% of Russians, respectively).


Availability of healthy products is important to most of respondents (87%), especially to women (89%). When buying fruits, vegetables, berries, beans or greens Russians mainly pay attention to their freshness (48%). Thirty-one percent of respondents choose products depending on price; for 28%, non-GMO labeling is more important. One quarter of respondents (24%) say that their choices are influenced by the country of origin. Seventeen percent of Russians pay attention to food safety; 6%, nutritive properties.


Half of Russians (51%) opt for products with eco-label or organic labelling; they are mainly women (54%). Eight out of ten respondents agree that organic foods are safer (78%) and healthier (77%) than ordinary products. Almost the same number of Russians (69%) consider that organic products are more environmentally-friendly; 61% believe that organic products do not contain agricultural chemicals, pesticides or antibiotics.

Growing your own foods or shopping for food?

Two-thirds of Russians (67%) grow vegetables, fruits and other crops themselves for their own needs as they think they are healthier, safer and have a better quality (83%). Four out of ten respondents (38%) grow foods for their own pleasure; 32% do it to save up. About half of Russians (53%) heard something but do not know any details about plant diseases.

Every third Russian (33%) buys vegetables, fruits from a supermarket chain. Twenty-eight percent of Russians go to markets; 14% go to non-chain grocery stores. Forty-one perent of respondets consider that  the quantities of domestically produced agricultural products in the markets are not sufficient . Most of Russians choose domestically produced agricultural products (83%); 2% opt for the imported ones; 14% say it does not matter to them where the products were grown.


Russian VCIOM-Sputnik public opinion survey was commissioned by Bayern Corporation and conducted on December 26-27, 2019. VCIOM’s expert decision “Public social study” was used in the project. Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,600 Russians aged 18 and older. A stratified dual-frame random sample based on a complete list of Russian landline and mobile phone numbers is used. The data were weighted according to selection probability and social and demographic characteristics. The margin of error at a 95% confidence level does not exceed 2.5%. In addition to sampling error, minor changes in question wording and different circumstances arising during the fieldwork can introduce bias into the survey.

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