Just half of consumers trust the food industry

Six months on from the horse meat scandal, British consumers remain highly sceptical about the efficiency of the British food industry according to new research.

The survey reveals a startling lack of confidence among British consumers in the UK food industry’s ability to provide food that is safe to eat, with the finding that only half of consumers trust the food industry.

The Mintel research looked at attitudes towards trust in food found just half (49%) of all Brits trust the food industry to provide safe food, with almost two fifths (37%) undecided.

What is more, only 42% of all Brits believe the food industry is able to effectively react to food scares (such as BSE and horse meat) while just 23% of the nation agree that the different elements of the supply chain work effectively together.

Consumer concerns about food safety appear to relate to the industry’s lack of awareness of their supply chains. Just 36% of consumers feel that food manufacturers are aware of where their ingredients originate from, with around the same number (34%) disagreeing.

Nearly eight in ten (77%) adults consider the food industry to be too reliant on mass manufacturing, with agreement broadly rising with age (70% of 16-24 year olds compared to 84% of 55-64 year olds). The findings also illustrate how labelling concerns echo consumer misgivings about the operators’ inability to control their supply chains. Only two fifths (40%) of adults trust supermarkets and food manufacturers to provide accurate labelling on food packaging.

As food PR specialists the findings of this report are not a surprise to us, as many people still have an idealistic view of farming and food production.

However, the implications are far-reaching. The industry, especially the major brand owners and retailers have to work together to re-establish the credibility of the food industry in the minds of nearly half their customers. This will require a long-term investment in communications.

Pelican Communications are specialists in the environmentfood and drinkoutdoor and leisure and packaging sectors and offer a range of services such as media relations, brand management, event management and people developmentContact us for marketing and communications expertise.