According to Deloitte’s 2010 Consumer Food Safety Survey, while nine out of ten (90 per cent) consumers believe food-related recalls are on the rise, or on par, compared with findings from Deloitte’s 2008 Consumer Food Safety Survey, fewer people seem to be anxious about them. The results show 65 per cent of consumers surveyed are concerned about the quality of the food they eat, a 17 percent decrease from 2008.
“The decline in consumers’ concern for quality from our 2008 survey is due, in part, by their need to become more aware and engaged in choosing the products they buy,” says Pat Conroy, Deloitte’s vice-chairman and U.S. consumer products practice leader. “Consumers view food safety and quality as important issues, and are looking to manufacturers, food companies and government regulatory bodies to drive communication, as well as tackle food quality and safety issues.”
In fact, three out of four (75 per cent) Americans surveyed feel that the manufacturers/food companies are responsible for communicating product recall information, followed closely by government organizations such as the Food and Drug Administration (73 per cent), with less expectations from retailers (53 per cent) and the media (51 per cent).
Country-of-Origin Label Helping Selection Process
When making food purchases, Americans are doing more hands-on research and reviewing labels carefully, another indication that they are becoming more engaged in the process behind the foods they buy. Half (51 per cent) of Americans say the new country-of-origin labels help in determining which fresh meat, fish, fruit or vegetables to purchase, and 45 per cent say they would like to find out the country-of-origin on a Web-site for all ingredients in a packaged/bottled food product. This may become of increasing importance to consumers, since the survey found that more than half (53 per cent) of consumers frequently or always read the list of ingredients on an unfamiliar packaged or bottled food item; up from 50 per cent in 2008.
However, although more Americans are reading ingredients, only four out of 10 (45 per cent) surveyed say they understand at least 75 per cent of the ingredients on a packaged food item, up slightly from 2008 (33 per cent). Furthermore, 55 per cent surveyed understand half or less of the ingredients, which is in line with responses from Deloitte’s 2008 survey (59 per cent).