The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) survey finds 48% of the population view these so-called “superfoods” as part of a healthy diet with only 8% linking health risks with their consumption.

“Superfood products are often not sufficiently investigated to be able to evaluate them from a health perspective,”​ says BfR President Professor Dr Andreas Hensel.

“A balanced and varied diet remains the best basis for staying healthy. This can be supported by the consumption of imported superfoods just as by the consumption of local fruits and vegetables.”

What’s a superfood?

Further findings from the BfR Consumer Monitor​, a representative population survey conducted annually since 2014, reveals that 70% of the 1000 people surveyed considered chia seeds to be a superfood.

Other foods considered to have extraordinary properties include goji berries (65%), quinoa (57%), linseed (53%), blackcurrants (42%) and oats (41%).

The survey thinks that compared to local foods, the majority tend to label imported foods, such as chia seeds, goji berries and quinoa, as superfoods.

Yet, local foods often provide comparable health benefits. For example, blackcurrants present an alternative to goji berries due to their high content of vitamin C just as linseed, with its high content of proteins and omega-3 fatty acids, shares similarities with the nutritional profile of chia seeds.

Further findings from the survey reveals the main benefits of consuming these superfoods include their content of vitamins (19%), a generally positive effect on the body (15%) and a strengthening of the immune system (11%).