Trace One: Consumers concerned about safety and quality of foods

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

One finding from Trace One survey infographic
One finding from Trace One survey infographic

Related tags: Food

More than a third of people believe food retailers or manufacturers don’t act quickly enough or provide timely information during health scares, according to Trace One.

The developer of private brand product lifecycle management (PLM) transparency software surveyed more than 3,000 shoppers across nine countries.

It found that despite buying private food brands often, consumers are concerned about the safety and quality of the foods they eat.

84% of respondents believe retailers and manufacturers are responsible for private brand food quality and safety.

Need for greater transparency

Chris Morrison, CMO of Trace One, told FoodQualityNews that the results show there is a need for greater transparency across the food industry to meet evolving consumer demands.

“We believe that 3,000 randomly picked respondents is more than sufficient to draw reliable statistics from - the more responses you have the more reliable the statistics will be. As well as conducting this survey online, we also interviewed people in the street in different countries,” ​he said.

“We found that consumers across the board are demanding more information on food products than ever before, so we feel these statistics paint an accurate picture.

“We have commissioned independent research before surveying retailers, manufacturers and consumers, but this is the first time we have surveyed consumers on a global basis and on this particular topic.

“We did this because of the rapid global change we see being driven by evolving consumer demands. We wanted to understand what these demands are, and how retailers and manufacturers can do more to address consumer needs.”

Some of the questions provided a “yes” or “no” response, some were multiple choice, and others asked respondent to rank answers in order of what they agreed with most.

A total of 95% of consumers buy private brands, but trust was not a driver. Nearly three-quarters said they chose private brands because of lower prices, whereas only 22% said they buy them because they trust the product’s quality.

Of those who do not buy private brands, 25% named fewer choices and 24% cited lower food quality as top reasons.

Consumer trust

Morrison said good practice is identifying food scares as fast as possible: in minutes rather than days.

“Retailers are now using software to share information throughout the supply chain so problems can be identified more quickly and they can respond with a solution in shorter timeframes.”

A majority of respondents (91%) said it’s important to know where their food comes from, but nearly two-thirds (62%) said they’re not provided with enough information about what’s in the food and its origins.

Only 12% said they wholeheartedly trust the safety of the private and national food brands and only 10% wholeheartedly trust the quality. More than a quarter (27%) do not trust the information on product labels.

The majority (81%) learn about recalls through the news, while only 38% hear from the place they bought it from.

In comparison 34% now learn from social media and 30% from word of mouth, while only 9% learn from a text or app. As a result, unless a health issue with a product is serious enough to make the news, the majority of consumers will never find out about it.

“The good news is that consumers worldwide have embraced the value of private brands, but the bad news is that they still do not trust the quality, safety and ingredient documentation of any food brand – be it private or national,”​ said Morrison.

“Consumers are demanding more information and want reassurances that the foods they’re eating are safe – and originating from reliable sources. Brands that go above and beyond to share accurate and reliable product information with consumers will ultimately be rewarded with increased consumer trust.” 

The online survey this summer was in Brazil, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, the US and the UK. 

Related topics: Food Safety & Quality

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