It’s important to feel comfortable with the food you’re eating – but as recalls and food safety scares increase (or at least become more public on a nationwide scale), some consumers are becoming increasingly wary about what they’re putting in their systems. A new study shows that consumers’ confidence in the safety of their food is slipping away a little more every year.
The study in question is performed annually by the Center for Food Integrity, a non-profit organization that studies supply chains in the foodservice sector, in conjunction with Iowa State University. Consumers participating in the study are given a survey about their priorities when shopping for food, as well as their perceptions of the industry as a whole. As it turns out, “food safety” came in first (above even affordability, which says a lot given the current economic climate). With that said, this year’s survey also caught a 4 percent decrease in the number of those surveyed who agreed with the phrase “I am confident in the safety of the food I eat,” when compared to last year’s results.
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That’s not all: the report also showed a 9 percent decrease in consumers who believe that “today's food supply is safer than it was when I was growing up,” and a 7 percent decrease in consumers’ confidence that they “have access to all of the information I want about where my food comes from, how it is produced and its safety."
These are all troubling statistics that should have the foodservice industry concerned. While the Center for Food Integrity asserts that many food safety methods and regulations are more effective than they were a generation ago, it’s obvious that there is still a lot of work to be done – especially in the realm of communication between food producers and consumers, and especially in light of the many food recalls and food-borne illnesses that have made headlines over the past year. "If the public feels they don't have access to the information they need about where their food comes from, how it is produced and its safety, we need to do a better job finding ways to connect with consumers on the issues they see as important," said a representative from the Center for Food Integrity in a statement.