This flagship survey measures self-reported knowledge, attitudes and behaviours related to food safety and other food issues amongst adults in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
Wave 2 key findings
Confidence in food safety, authenticity, and the supply chain
More than 9 in 10 (93%) respondents were confident that the food they buy is safe to eat and almost 9 in 10 (89%) were confident that the information on food labels is accurate.
Over three quarters of respondents (77%) had confidence in the food supply chain.
Concerns about food
Most respondents (88%) had no concerns about the food they eat, and only 12% of respondents reported that they had a concern.
The most common prompted concerns were the amount of sugar in food (60%), food waste (60%) and animal welfare (57%).
Food security levels were comparable across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Over three quarters of respondents were food secure in England (85%), Wales (82%) and Northern Ireland (84%) whilst approximately 1 in 6 were food insecure in England (15%), Wales (18%) and Northern Ireland (16%).
Eating out and takeaways
Three fifths (60%) of respondents had eaten food which was ordered from a takeaway either ordered directly or via an online delivery company (e.g Just Eat, Deliveroo, Uber Eats) in the previous 4 weeks.
Most respondents (87%) had heard of the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS). Of those, 51% had checked the Food Hygiene Rating of a food business in the last 12 months.
Food allergy, intolerance, and other hypersensitivities
Fewer than 1 in 10 (9%) respondents reported that they had a food intolerance, 3% had a food allergy, 1% had coeliac disease and 1% had multiple food hypersensitivities.
Of the respondents who reported having a food allergy, 35% reported having an allergy to fruit, 19% reported an allergy to crustaceans, and 19% reported an allergy to peanuts.
Of the respondents who reported having a food intolerance, 38% reported an intolerance to cow’s milk and products made with cow’s milk and 18% reported an intolerance to cereals containing gluten.
Respondents who suffer from adverse reactions to food were more likely to report confidence in the allergen information provided by restaurants (82%), cafés, coffee or sandwich shops (79%), and pubs or bars (75%) compared to information provided by takeaways when ordering directly from a takeaway shop or restaurant (63%) or when ordering through an online ordering and delivery company (e.g. JustEat, Deliveroo, UberEats) (50%), food-sharing apps (e.g. Olio or Too Good To Go) (23%) or Facebook Marketplace (21%)
Eating at home
More than 6 in 10 (62%) respondents reported that they always check use-by dates before they cook or prepare food.
Most respondents reported that they never ate smoked fish (81%), milk (68%), cooked meats (66%), bagged salads (53%) or cheese (52%) past the use-by date.
Emily Miles, Chief Executive at the FSA said:
‘The Food and You 2 Wave 2 report is a valuable source of information for those involved in the food system. It’s one of the ways we can ensure that consumers’ perspectives on the food they eat are heard.
‘When prompted, respondents told us they were most concerned about the amount of sugar in food, food waste and animal welfare. Hypersensitive and allergic consumers are telling us that they are not confident in the allergen information provided by online food providers (including food sharing apps and Facebook Marketplace). This remains an area of concern for the Food Standards Agency as a regulator and one we are working with industry to address.‘
About the report
Fieldwork for Food and You 2: Wave 2 was conducted between 20 November 2020 and 21 January 2021. A total of 5,900 adults from 3,955 households across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland took part.
Read the research
The full Wave 2 report is available in the research section of our website.