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Consumers' Food Safety Concerns - UK - May 2015

The level of trust consumers have in the food and drink industry is evidently low, with few believing either retailers or manufacturers to have complete information on their supply chains. Consumer faith in the role of the state, or official bodies, in guaranteeing the safety of food and drink in the UK is also low.

This report looks at the following areas:

  • Consumer trust in retailers’ knowledge of their supply chains is low
  • “Best-before” and “use-by” dates are misunderstood and ignored
  • Concern over artificial ingredients drives ‘clean label’ and scratch cooking trends

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Covered in this report
      • Executive summary

        • Market background
          • Combatting campylobacter becomes a key priority
            • Media scrutiny is prompting consumer attention and steps from operators
              • Figure 1: Consumer attitudes towards food and drink safety, March 2015
            • Concern over artificial ingredients drives ‘clean label’ trend
              • The consumer
                • “Use by” and “best before” dates are ignored by the majority of Brits
                  • Hygiene ratings can quell concerns around operators’ hygiene standards
                    • Figure 2: Concern around specific food safety issues, March 2015
                  • British origin resonates
                    • Figure 3: Factors that would make people trust food and drink companies/brands more, March 2015
                  • Only three in 10 think retailers have complete info of their supply chain
                    • Figure 4: Attitudes towards food safety, March 2015
                  • Over a quarter think food that has passed its use-by date is safe to eat
                    • Figure 5: Further attitudes towards food safety, March 2015
                • Issues and Insights

                  • Consumer trust in retailers’ knowledge of their supply chains is low
                    • The facts
                      • The implications
                        • “Best-before” and “use-by” dates are misunderstood and ignored
                          • The facts
                            • The implications
                              • Concern over artificial ingredients drives ‘clean label’ and scratch cooking trends
                                • The facts
                                  • The implications
                                  • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                    • Combatting campylobacter becomes a key priority
                                      • Media scrutiny is prompting consumer attention and steps from operators
                                        • Concern over artificial ingredients drives ‘clean label’ trend
                                          • Ongoing debate over mandatory “best before” labelling
                                            • Country of origin labelling requirement extended beyond beef
                                            • Market Background

                                              • Spotlight on Campylobacter in 2015
                                                • Concern over artificial ingredients drives clean label innovation
                                                  • Media scrutiny and investigative journalism are prompting operators into action
                                                    • Ongoing debate over mandatory “best before” labelling
                                                      • Level of reported food incidents has fallen
                                                        • Figure 6: Number of food and environmental contamination incidents* in the UK, 2006-13
                                                      • The Elliott review recommends a variety of steps to combat food crime
                                                        • Country of origin labelling requirement extended beyond beef
                                                          • New technologies look to improve food safety
                                                            • Italian producer Amadori offers a live feed to chicken farms
                                                            • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                              • Lack of regard for “best before” and “use by”
                                                                • Impact of media coverage on food scares is limited…
                                                                  • …but social media is having an impact as well
                                                                    • There is a marked consumer curiosity in food and drink ingredients
                                                                      • Many people believe the price war is detrimental to food safety standards
                                                                        • Trust in retailers’ control of their supply chains is low
                                                                          • ‘Real people’ can build trust throughout the supply chain
                                                                            • Hygiene standards are a key concern for consumers
                                                                            • Attitudes and Behaviours Related to Food Safety Issues

                                                                              • “Use by” and “best before” dates are ignored by the majority of Brits
                                                                                • Figure 7: Consumer attitudes towards food and drink safety, March 2015
                                                                              • Media coverage of food scares has limited impact on behaviour
                                                                                • Despite high levels of concern, few people actively seek information
                                                                                  • Social media can stir up fear, but can also combat it head on
                                                                                    • Scratch cooking trend driven by concern about ingredients
                                                                                      • Many consumers scrutinise labels
                                                                                      • Concern around Specific Food Safety Issues

                                                                                        • Hygiene ratings can quell concerns around operators’ hygiene standards
                                                                                          • Figure 8: Concern around specific food safety issues, March 2015
                                                                                        • Proactive steps to combat bacteria can win consumer trust
                                                                                          • Control over artificial ingredients makes them less of a concern
                                                                                          • Factors that Would Encourage Trust in Companies and Brands

                                                                                            • British origin resonates
                                                                                              • Figure 9: Factors that would make people trust food and drink companies/brands more, March 2015
                                                                                            • Openness about ingredient origin helps to build trust
                                                                                              • On-pack quality assurances shouldn’t be underestimated
                                                                                                • Transparent packaging appeals
                                                                                                • Attitudes towards Food Safety

                                                                                                  • Only three in 10 think retailers have complete info of their supply chain
                                                                                                    • Figure 10: Attitudes towards food safety, March 2015
                                                                                                  • Focusing on the individuals can support trust
                                                                                                    • Price war deemed detrimental to food safety by some consumers
                                                                                                      • High interest in practical advice from brands and retailers
                                                                                                      • Further Attitudes towards Food Safety

                                                                                                        • Over a quarter think food that has passed its use-by date is safe to eat
                                                                                                          • Figure 11: Further attitudes towards food safety, March 2015
                                                                                                        • Consumers are suspicious of takeaway food
                                                                                                          • Few people are prepared to pay more for packs with use-by indicators
                                                                                                          • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                              • Abbreviations

                                                                                                              Companies Covered

                                                                                                              To learn more about the companies covered in this report please contact us.

                                                                                                              Consumers' Food Safety Concerns - UK - May 2015

                                                                                                              £1,995.00 (Excl.Tax)