Generation Guilt: Takeaways driving food guilt among young Kiwis

Three-quarters of Kiwis aged 18-24 left feeling guilty after eating takeaways

AUCKLAND, New Zealand, 31 May 2017 – When it comes to fast food, it seems younger New Zealanders really have an attack of the guilts, with three-quarters of Kiwis aged 18-24 and three in five Kiwis aged 25-34 feeling some form of guilt after eating takeaways, according to independent research[1] commissioned by Sealord.

While younger Kiwis were more likely to feel guilt than other generations, it would appear New Zealanders overall are an emotional bunch with the research also revealing that 50 per cent of Kiwis admit to being more likely to indulge in takeaways when they’re feeling emotional.

Clinical psychologist Dr Kumari Valentine says when people are feeling stressed, many reach for the instant gratification of takeaways or comfort foods.

“We block out bad feelings with food and temporarily experience good feelings. Unfortunately, we then tell ourselves off for our food choices and we feel guilty. We then deal with the guilt with comfort food and the cycle continues.

“It’s important for people to be aware of their deeper values surrounding food and their body. It’s about slowing down, becoming mindfully aware, taking a breath and allowing yourself to feel your feelings instead of blocking them during times of stress,” says Dr Kumari.

The Social Media Effect

Dr Kumari says the role of social media can influence young New Zealanders’ perceptions of what healthy is, which can also contribute to their guilt.

“The challenge with social media use is that it creates a false sense of what is normal, expected, or healthy, and when our reality doesn't match up to what we think we ‘should’ be eating, we feel guilty. It's really important to listen to your own body and follow sensible nutritional advice that works for you,” says Dr Kumari.

Kiwis choose the couch over cardio but want to be healthier

Diet aside, the vast majority of New Zealanders are also choosing the couch over cardio with 79 per cent of Kiwis exercising less than two and a half hours per week – the recommended amount by the Ministry of Health.

Despite New Zealanders frequently eating takeaways and not exercising enough, Kiwis want to be healthier. Over 40 per cent of people agree that their health could be improved and 80 per cent said that healthy eating is important to them and their family.

Half of all Kiwis surveyed stated that maintaining motivation (50%) was their top barrier to continuing a healthy lifestyle, followed closely by time (42%).

“The research highlights there’s a real desire for New Zealanders to be healthier but also illustrates the importance of good habits and routine.

“For Kiwis raising young families, planning meals in advance, ensuring there’s a variety of fresh veggies and having healthy, convenient and affordable meal options are just some ways which people can improve their well-being and ditch the guilts.

“Preparing a meal at home and coming together for a meal around the table allows people to establish healthy eating habits for their family,” says Stuart Yorsten, Sealord General Manager – New Zealand.

The research coincides with Sealord’s announcement that it is on a mission to help lift the health of the nation through good food, encouraging Kiwis to make small but positive changes to their lifestyle.





About Sealord

Sealord is a New Zealand company offering healthy seafood across the canned, chilled and frozen categories within New Zealand and Australian supermarkets.  Sealord is on a mission to try to help Kiwis achieve better health through good food by encouraging people to take a healthier approach to eating.  Sealord’s products are convenient and affordable and definitely make eating healthier easier. Eating home cooked or prepared meals with vegies is a key factor in healthy eating, and with Sealord’s great tasting range, it hopes Kiwis can take small but positive changes to their lifestyle.


[1] Undertaken by an independent research house in May 2017, 1017 sample size

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