One in three UK shoppers concerned about food safety, according to report

Posted: 2 December 2019 | | No comments yet

A new report from Lloyd’s Register has suggested that UK shoppers are concerned with sustainable and ethical sourcing, ingredient traceability and food safety, but are still highly cost-driven.

One in three UK shoppers concerned about food safety, according to report

A new report by food safety certification company, Lloyd’s Register, has revealed that 75 percent of UK shoppers want supermarkets to only stock food from sustainable and ethical sources. 72 percent of UK shoppers also expect their supermarket, shop or restaurant to know the precise ingredients of all food products sold despite complex supply chains that may span several countries of origin.

The report allegedly demonstrated that UK shoppers are increasingly concerned about food safety with one in three people confirming their concerns have increased in the last year, while one in five has actually changed brands following reports of a food safety incident or product recall.

Shoppers’ biggest safety concern (60 percent) was noted to be bacterial food contamination, such as salmonella or listeria and one in five UK shoppers were reported to have swapped brands in the last year due to a food safety scare.

However, the research also revealed what Lloyd’s Register described as the often ‘contradictory nature’ of the modern food shopper. While people want ethical and sustainable food, price is still a huge driver with 40 percent of consumers saying cost is the single biggest incentive behind purchasing decisions.

“This research is a snapshot of UK food shopping habits which reveals the demanding, and at times contradictory state-of-mind of the modern food shopper, who places great importance on food safety, is very demanding of retailers and restaurants, but is still highly price-driven,” said Stuart Kelly, Head of Commercial, Customised Assurance at Lloyd’s Register.

“This report shows that, whilst food on our supermarket shelves and restaurants is amongst the safest in the world, high-profile food scares have clearly entered into the consciousness of food shoppers and are impacting purchasing decisions,” he added.

The findings also suggest that there is a lack of trust amongst UK consumers about the claims made for many organic and vegan products. One in five UK consumers declared themselves to be ‘not confident at all’ or ‘very suspicious’ about claims that vegan products do not contain meat. One quarter of all consumers (26.9 percent) said that they are ‘not confident at all’ that food products labelled as organic are grown or reared using organic farming methods.

Stuart continued: “There is a trust and credibility gap in the minds of consumers over many vegan and vegetarian products. Whilst initiatives like the Vegan Certification Scheme are important there is still much work to be done.

“It speaks to a worrying wider crisis of confidence that 80.2 percent of shoppers are either ‘very suspicious’, ‘not confident at all’ or only ‘fairly confident’ that the vegan product in their supermarket does not contain meat.

“Those working in the food supply chain have long suspected that their businesses are vulnerable to the changing purchasing motivations of consumers who are exerting an increasing influence on procurement, ingredient and packaging decisions. What this report shows is that this influence is often tinged with suspicion, increasingly demanding and, at times, contradictory.”

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