October 2011/Prepared Foods-- A South African study finds young people may opt for fast-food meals not solely because of their convenience. In fact, according to the survey of more than 300 working adults, aged 18-30 in the South African province of Gauteng, the majority said if fast-food outlets offered healthier options, such as vegetables, salads and grilled meat, they would choose these. 
Women at lunch

 Some 81% of women said they would opt for a healthier meal option, while 73% of men shared that opinion. These preferences are not altogether surprising, considering only 12% noted they were unconcerned about their health.

The survey was part of a study on nutrition by researcher Maryke van Zyl, of South Africa’s Stellenbosch University. Van Zyl was attempting to understand the factors influencing the choices young adults make when purchasing food. Favorites included hamburgers, pizzas, fried chicken and potato chips, while grilled chicken was last on the list. Among beverages, soft drinks proved most popular; in fact, more than half said they regularly consumed those, with 13.8% opting for pure fruit juice and 7.6% favoring unflavored water. Women were three times as likely to purchase diet beverages.

What influenced the group’s purchasing decisions? Roughly 80% said television, well ahead of the less than 2% influenced by flyers and handouts.  pf