New safefood report highlights consumer confusion over smoothies- NI

69% of drinkers in Northern Ireland overestimate nutritional benefit

23 March, 2009. A new report (1) into consumer attitudes to smoothies has revealed that 69% of smoothie drinkers in Northern Ireland overestimate (2) their nutritional benefit and assume they contribute more than one portion of fruit and vegetables a day. The report commissioned by safefood, also found that the most common reason for drinking smoothies was taste (48%) followed by health reasons (38%).

Commenting on the report, Dr. Cliodhna Foley-Nolan, Director, Human Health & Nutrition, safefood said: “Vegetable or fruit smoothies only count as one portion a day, regardless of how many you drink. This is because smoothie ingredients contain less fibre that their whole fruit or vegetable equivalents. And while there are indications that fruit and vegetable consumption is on the increase, we still fall well short of the recommended levels of five portions a day. Consumers should try to include a wide variety of fruit and vegetables in their daily diet, in addition to smoothies. Those smoothie varieties made with milk and yoghurt can also contribute to daily dairy intake”.

“Our report has revealed that smoothies are popular, with almost a third of smoothie drinkers (3) consuming them between two and five times a week. We also found that 72% of people believe smoothies to be a healthy drink. However, our research also indicated a low awareness that smoothie ingredients can often include sweetened fruit juice, concentrate, fruit syrups, added sugars and preservatives. Consumers where possible, should order smoothies only made with fresh or frozen fruit and milk or yoghurt, and should look at labels and choose those with no added sugars, syrups or honey”, she added.

With over 40% of those surveyed believing smoothies to be low in calories, safefood recommends consumers should compare brands and labels, as added ingredients can add to the fat, sugar and calorie content of ready-made smoothies.

“These drinks offer a practical, convenient and tasty way of adding to your daily fruit and vegetable intake, particularly home-made varieties which can be cheaper and a fun way of getting children interested in their diet”, continued Dr. Foley-Nolan. “Ideally, smoothies should be consumed at mealtimes with other foods to protect teeth from their naturally high sugar content.”

The safefood report also found that smoothie consumption was highest among students (58%) and those aged under 35 (46%). The main reasons given by consumers for not drinking smoothies were a lack of interest (45%) and a dislike for the texture and consistency (9%).



For further information please contact

Dermot Moriarty


01 4480600 / 086 381 1034


Kathy Doyle


028 9039 5509/079 2729 0505

Editor’s Notes


  1. Consumer Knowledge, Attitudes and Beliefs around the Nutritional Content of Smoothies; safefood/Millward Brown IMS (2008).
  2. 3% correctly identified smoothies as providing one portion of fruit & vegetables. 10% estimated 2 portions; 26% estimated 3 portions; 17% estimated 4 portions; 14% estimated 5 portions; 7% estimated 5 or more portions. Stats based on an IOI sample of 688 smoothie drinkers.
  3. 27% of those who drank smoothies consumed them two to five times a week

Homemade Smoothie recipes (serves two people)

Basic recipe

  • 1-2 pieces of large fruit, washed and peeled
  • ½ pot (62g) of low-fat diet yoghurt (natural or flavoured)
  • 90ml of low-fat milk
  • 4 ice cubes or 90ml unsweetened fruit juice (Optional)


  • Blend all ingredients together using a hand held blender or a smoothie maker

Fruit recipes

  • Banana and Berry Smoothie 80g of fresh or frozen berries and 1 banana
  • Strawberry Smoothie 100g fresh or frozen strawberries
  • Pineapple Smoothie 100g fresh or canned (stored in own juice) pineapple