French food industry launches public consultation to end 'le food-bashing'

By Niamh Michail contact

- Last updated on GMT

French food industry launches public consultation to end 'le food-bashing'

Related tags: Food

French industry group, ANIA, is asking the public's opinion on what it wants from manufacturers and retailers in a bid to bridge the gap between consumers and industry and counter the culture of ‘food-bashing’.

Results from the online consultation will be used to establish a ‘Food Pact’ in 2016 that will aim to restore consumer confidence and restore the value of food.

“A gap is widening between those who produce our daily food, including the 15,789 food businesses in France, and those who eat it,” ​said the industry group in a statement. "And this pact is part of our daily drive to manufacture and offer consumers a diverse supply of quality products, greater security and to meet their expectations and demands​.” 

In June this year, ANIA commissioned a survey on French attitudes to food and found that, although 60% ate for pleasure and three quarters were proud of the French food model, only 55% had a positive image of the food industry.

You are changing - so are we

The consultation asks respondents to put in order of importance factors such as price, brand name, ingredients, taste, origin or whether a

Since taking the helm in 2013, Girard has made it his self-proclaimed mission to restore consumer confidence in the food industry.

product is organic or not, and if they think French people eat better than in neighbouring countries.

It also asks consumers to give details on what manufacturers, producers, retailers and the government could do so that people can eat better.

As part of the pact, ANIA will encourage food companies and factories to have open days so that consumers can see where their food comes from.

ANIA president, Jean-Philippe Girard said: "Ten years ago we would never have imagined opening our factories to the public. Today, certain companies are considering it (...) as a way to build consumer trust."

A culture of food bashing?

cured meat, charcuterie

Does processed meat cause cancer​, do fruit and vegetables contain pesticides and is packaged food tainted with dangerous mineral oils​? For Girard the stories making recent headlines are  creating an anxiety-inducing atmosphere around food and developing a culture of ‘food-bashing’ at a time when “our food has never been so safe”.

"We've had enough of being constantly attacked! Companies in the [food] sector don't deserve to be treated like this," ​ he told Europe1.

But the industry group also says it is normal that food provokes so much debate as it forms the basis of some the most important issues of our society, from food waste to food security, food fraud to food as cultural heritage.

The three-minute consultation can be done at​ (‘You are changing - so are we’​) until 3 March 2016. 

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