Results from the Australian Health Survey, released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) this week demonstrate the differences in eating habits across the nation and that Australians across the nation continue to enjoy a treat.

Louise Gates from the ABS says “The report tells us Australians obtain over a third (35 per cent) of their energy from discretionary foods.” said Ms Gates. “Tasmanians and Northern Territorians obtained the highest proportion of energy from discretionary foods at 38 per cent while Canberrans had the lowest at 33 per cent.”

As Jeff Rogut, executive director, Australasian Association of Convenience Stores, points out: “The convenience store industry has long been a destination for people to refuel both their cars and themselves while on the go. Research that I did some time ago showed that some customers ‘planned’ to impulse shop i.e. they knew that they were going to buy some snack, confectionery etc, but did not really know what it would be until they were in the store. As the trend toward healthier living and eating continues to grow our stores are adapting to these needs, but not ignoring those customers who seek a treat or a snack, for themselves or to share.”

State differences show that the treat of choice varies widely. Soft drink consumption is highest in the Northern Territory where one in three (33%) consume soft drinks. Northern Territorians are not as keen on confectionery (20%) or snack food (13%) and are the least likely to consume these foods.

Tasmanians were the most fond of confectionery with over a third (37%) consuming it as a treat. In New South Wales snack foods were most popular with 16% of people eating them. Soft drink was least popular in Canberra where only 23% of people reported drinking it.

The report also covers issues such as food avoidance with allergy or intolerance affecting 21% of Canberrans.

ABS has compiled a full report for each State and Territory. Further information is available in Australian Health Survey: Nutrition – State and Territory results, 2011-12 (cat. no. 4364.0.55.009) available for free download from the ABS website