One out of two Israeli households are now buying low-calorie and low-fat food products, following the global trend of keeping to a healthier way of life. "About 50 percent of all Israeli households are buying low-calorie food products compared with 47% three years ago," said Avraham Kringel, chairman of the Food Association at the Manufacturers' Association of Israel. Kringel added that 32% of Israeli households today tend to buy low-calorie milk, yogurt and cheese products, compared with 30% three years ago. "The health issue has become of major importance to the Israeli consumer when buying dairy products from milk, yogurt to cheese," said Noga Schwartz, manager of Tnuva's health and innovation division. "Moreover, the increased health awareness trend towards low-calorie and non-fat foods can, today, also be found in the cooking and hospitality category in products such as cake light and ptitim light." Yael Averbuch, dietician at Strauss-Elite, said that today most of the food company's dairy products were 5% fat and less. "There is growing demand for 0% fat products. If, before, we only had 0% fat yogurts in peach and strawberry flavors, today you can find 0% fat yogurts in all exotic flavors such as pear in wine or mocachino or with fibres and proteins." According to the survey carried out by the Food Association of the Manufacturers' Association, 6% of all Israeli households are today buying low-calorie cold meat and pastrami compared with 2% three years ago, while 5% of households tend to buy low-calorie dressing and soups. "Today the Israeli consumer wants a healthier low-calorie product without losing the quality of taste," said Nirit Shimon, marketing manager of Strauss Fresh Foods, which is part of Strauss-Elite. This year, Strauss Fresh Foods launched a light series for its Ahla salads and humous range, containing only 5% fat. The Ahla Light series contains five different salads: eggplant in mayonnaise, spicy eggplant, red cabbage, potatoes and sweet potatoes and a Balkan salad with mixed vegetables and three humous salads. "We saw great growth opportunities for light products in the humous and salad market found in 96% of Israeli households," said Shimon. "While satisfying the demand of traditional consumers for healthier oil-free and low-calorie salads, we also gained new consumers who before would not buy fattening salad and humous products."

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