UK consumers more label-conscious, says FSA

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Food labels, Nutrition, Food standards agency

More people are checking food labels than before, according to the
FSA's sixth UK-wide Consumer Attitudes to Food survey.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA)'s annual survey revealed an impressive increase in the number of consumers who say they look at nutritional information on food labels, with an additional third of consumers saying they check food labels for the salt/sodium content.

In addition, an increasing number of consumers are taking an active interest in their food and diet, and trying to eat more healthily. An additional one-quarter of consumers are now aware that we should eat at least five portions compared to respondents in 2001.

"It's encouraging that the agency's survey shows a growing awareness among consumers towards healthier eating,"​ said Gill Fine, director of consumer choice and dietary health at the Food Standards Agency.

"The rise in the number of people who say they are eating more fruit and veg, and checking their food labels shows a real shift in attitudes since the Agency first began these surveys in 2000."

An earlier FSA report however revealed that while consumers are more label-aware, they do not necessarily trust them. This survey, published in January, found that many consumers harbour a strong element of mistrust when it comes to taking labels on face value.

For example, there is still a low degree of certainty over exactly what words such as 'style' and 'selected' mean. Scepticism was an overriding response to many common marketing terms.

A significant proportion of respondents indicated a suspicion that all food products are produced by the same manufacturer but just packaged differently.

The Consumer Attitudes Survey is conducted annually by the Food Standards Agency to provide a better understanding of attitudes, knowledge, behaviour, and awareness among the public with regards to food standards and safety. The first study, in 2000 (published January 2001) enabled benchmarks to be set, and each additional study allows the Agency to track changes in behaviour and attitude, and measure trends.

Related topics: Market Trends, Food labelling

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