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Keywords:

  • consumers;
  • dietary fibre;
  • healthy diet;
  • perception

Abstract

Objective  The aim was to study how Finnish consumers perceive the role of fibre in the diet, which foods are regarded as good sources of fibre and the relationship between the respondents’ self-estimated fibre intake and their measured intake.

Methods  A semistructured interview was conducted with 125 volunteers, including a background information questionnaire and an easy-to-use self-administered paper-and-pencil form estimating fibre intake.

Results  According to the self-administered form about half of the respondents had adequate fibre intake. Among those who estimated their fibre intake as adequate/maybe adequate, only 61% belonged to the highest fibre intake group. Most of the respondents defined their diet as being healthy. The key elements for a healthy diet were ‘vegetables’, ‘low in fat’, ‘fruit and berries’ and ‘variety’. Only 5% of the respondents mentioned fibre spontaneously here. However, fibre was considered important for health because of its effect on bowel function and general well-being. The recommended intake of fibre could not be described in nutritional terms, but respondents could identify relevant sources of fibre in the diet.

Conclusion  Finnish consumers considered fibre important for health and could recognize the sources of fibre correctly although they did not mention it spontaneously as a part of a healthy diet.