The results from the FSA’s Biannual Public Attitudes Tracker for May 2014 have been published.
Food issues of concern
The top three food safety issues of total (ie spontaneous plus prompted) concern for respondents were food hygiene when eating out (36%), food poisoning (28%) and the use of additives in food products (28%). The top wider food issues of total concern were food prices (51%), the amount of sugar in food (48%), and the amount of salt in food (47%).
Concern about food safety in UK food outlets
Almost half (49%) of respondents reported total concern about food safety in UK restaurants, pubs, cafes and takeaways; there is no obvious trend across waves. In this wave, 46% of respondents reported total concern about food safety in shops and supermarkets; this is similar to all previous waves except Wave 6 (52%).
Awareness of the FSA
Almost four-fifths (79%) of respondents reported being aware of the FSA, a modest decrease compared to the previous two waves (82%). As in previous waves, the main issue respondents reported the FSA to be responsible for was ensuring food bought is safe to eat (87%). Of those who reported being aware of the FSA, 61% said they trusted, and only 8% said they distrusted, the FSA to do its job.
Awareness of hygiene standards
More than four-fifths (82%) of respondents reported being aware of the hygiene standards in places they eat out at or buy food from. Of these respondents, 39% reported hygiene certificates, and 29% reported hygiene stickers, as ways of knowing about hygiene standards. The proportion of respondents reporting hygiene stickers as a way of knowing about hygiene standards in this wave was 4-17 percentage points higher than all previous waves (12-25%).
Food Hygiene Rating and Information Schemes
When shown the name of the scheme, 36% of respondents in England, Wales and Northern Ireland reported being aware of the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS). When shown the FHRS sticker and certificate, 69% of respondents in England, Wales and Northern Ireland reported having seen one or both of them before. This figure has increased by 3-19 percentage points compared to the three previous waves in which the question has been asked (50-66%).
In Scotland, 14% of respondents reported being aware of the Food Hygiene Information Scheme when shown the name of the scheme, an increase of 5 percentage points compared to Wave 7 (9%). The proportion of respondents reporting that they had seen an FHIS certificate and/or sticker (54%) increased 9-22 percentage points compared to waves 5 and 6 (32-45%).
Fieldwork for this wave took place in May 2014 and a representative sample of 2,483 adults in the UK was interviewed via the TNS consumer face-to-face omnibus survey. This is the eighth wave of the biannual tracker, which started in November 2010.