Millennials least likely to react to recall notices

By Joseph James Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

85% said they check at home when they hear about a food recall
85% said they check at home when they hear about a food recall
Millennials are the least likely age group to comply with recall notices for food, according to Stericycle Expert Solutions.

A consumer survey of more than 1,000 Americans found that most claim to comply with recalls for food, pharmaceuticals, motor vehicles and consumer electronics.

Compared to baby boomers (age 55+), millennials (18-34) are twice as likely to say they usually ignore recall notices (18% v 6%), after reading it; typically throw it away (36% v 16%) and consider such notices as ‘not serious’ (33% v 21%).

Importance of food and pharma recalls

Stericycle said findings suggest that when manufacturers recall a product they may need to rethink communication strategies with this demographic to improve compliance rates.

The US consumer survey by Stericycle Expert Solutions (23-25 August, 2017) used the national Toluna QuickSurvey panel.

Millennials agreed with other age groups that food and pharmaceutical recalls are most important with nearly 70% of all respondents ranking these categories first or second in order of importance.

The 18-34 year olds also ranked last in acting on product recalls for motor vehicles, food and pharmaceuticals.

Approximately 85% of respondents said they check their refrigerators or cupboards when they hear about a food recall on the news or via social media.

A communications challenge

Michael Good, VP of marketing and sales operations at Stericycle Expert Solutions, said it’s a trend that needs to be reversed as millennials will drive the greatest percentage of purchases in the near future.

“This research shows that product recalls are as much a communications challenge as they are a logistical one. The lesson for both regulatory bodies and product manufacturers is to make recall compliance easier and more relevant to this generation.”

The survey found personal relevance – or lack of – was a key driver of recall non-compliance.

A total of 70% of respondents said they judge recall notices based on whether they think they are personally at risk. And nearly one-third (30%) believe recall notices are not serious and are sent mainly out of legal obligation.

A previous survey by 1WorldSync found 78% of merchants said their product information systems can’t keep up with consumer transparency demands.

A total of 41% of suppliers believed it was more cost effective to pay penalties for non-compliance than to invest in product information system(s) updates compliant with changing regulations.

Related topics Food safety & quality

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