Survey Illustrates Consumer Food-Safety Fears

June 9, 2008

2 Min Read
Survey Illustrates Consumer Food-Safety Fears

According to a recent survey by Deloitte, New York, food safety fears have escalated of late, causing consumers to stop eating specific foods and highlighting the need for the industry to renew their fears about imported and domestic foods. Among the survey’s findings:

  • Over half of Americans (57%) have stopped eating a particular food, temporarily or permanently, as a result of a recent recall;

  • Three-fourths of Americans (73%) believe the number of food-related recalls has increased in the past year, while 76% are more concerned about the foods they eat than they were five years ago;

  • Over three-fourths of consumers are most concerned by beef recalls (78%), followed by chicken recalls (67%), fresh fruit and vegetable recalls (53%), and dairy recalls (53%);

  • One-third of consumers (33%) think fresh fish is “not at all” or “somewhat” safe.

“These findings underscore how urgent it is for food manufacturers to do all they can to address the problem of food recalls head-on,” said Pat Conroy, vice chairman and U.S. consumer products practice leader, Deloitte. “The results of the survey indicate that over half of today’s consumers may drop your product if they believe you are not doing what it takes to protect them and their families. Food manufacturers may consider taking a total approach to ensure the safety of their brands, all the way from the farm, to the supply chain, the store shelves, and even the consumer’s pantry.”

Despite these specific concerns, 80% of Americans say they believe that domestically produced foods are safe, while more than half (56%) think imported foods are “not at all” or only “somewhat” safe.

The survey found that nearly 9 out of 10 Americans (89%) would like to see food stores sell more fruits and vegetables that come from local farms, and well over two-thirds (69%) said they would pay slightly more for such produce.

“In today’s environment, consumers are seeking fresher ingredients, giving locally grown food providers an important advantage they haven’t really had in the past,” said Conroy. “If food-safety concerns continue to grow, consumers may be increasingly likely to shop outside the grocery store for fresh meats, produce and dairy products.”

The survey was commissioned by Deloitte and conducted online by an independent research company on April 21, 2008. The survey polled a nationally representative sample of 1,110 consumers. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points.

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