Just as many UK consumers are concerned about food additives as about food poisoning, according to the latest Public Attitudes Tracker survey from the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA).
More than a quarter of those surveyed (26%) said they were concerned about food additives, while the same proportion said they were worried about food poisoning – and when unprompted, the use of food additives was the top food safety worry, cited by 7% of those surveyed.
The poll qualified the term ‘food additives’ with the expression ‘such as preservatives and colouring’, and found women and consumers aged 50-65 were most likely to say they were worried about additives. Meanwhile, only 13% of younger consumers aged 16-25 said they were worried about additives, compared to 20-36% among other demographics.
However, the biggest concern – taking both unprompted and prompted responses into account – was food hygiene when eating out, cited by 37% of respondents, more than twice the proportion who said they were concerned about food hygiene in the home (15%).
When it came to spontaneous responses about their biggest food concerns in general, sugar, fat and salt content were all named by 9% of respondents. Concern about saturated fat was slightly lower at 7%, while the number one concern was food prices, named by 18% of consumers.
When prompted, the top three issues of general concern were food prices (60%), food waste (50%), and the amount of salt in food (44%). Concern about food waste has increased by five to eight percentage points compared to the FSA’s previous attitude tracker surveys, which have been carried out twice a year since November 2010.
The survey was conducted from November 6 to November 17 with a representative sample of 2,509 UK adults.
The full results are available online here (pdf).