The tracker survey monitors changes in consumer attitudes to food-related issues. We survey consumers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Food issues of concern
The top food safety issues of concern for those surveyed were:
- Chemicals from the environment, such as lead, in food (32%)
- Food hygiene when eating out (31%)
- The use of pesticides to grow food (31%)
- Food poisoning (28%)
The top wider food issues of concern were:
- Food waste (57%)
- The amount of sugar in food (53%)
- Animal welfare (50%)
- Food prices (44%)
- The amount of salt in food (42%)
Awareness of food poisoning
Awareness of different types of food poisoning has gradually increased in the last two years. While awareness of salmonella (now 92%) and e-coli (86%) were already relatively high, awareness of norovirus (60%) and listeria (61%) have increased by eight and 15 percentage points since November 2017.
Concern about food safety in UK food outlets
45% of respondents reported concern about food safety in UK restaurants, pubs, cafes and takeaways. 40% of respondents reported concern about food safety in UK shops and supermarkets. Reported concern has continued to decrease slightly over time, indicating a general decline in concern about food safety in UK food outlets.
Awareness of the FSA
The average score of the composite measure of trust in the FSA was 7 out of 10 and the average score for the composite measure of trust in the food system was 3.7 out of 5.
Further findings demonstrate that 78% of respondents reported being aware of the FSA, similar to previous waves. Of those aware of the FSA, 73% trusted the FSA to do its job, and 68% reported that they trust the FSA to tell the truth in the information it provides. Ensuring that food was safe to eat was the main issue respondents (90%) reported the FSA to be responsible for.
Attitudes towards food production, sale and labelling
The majority reported that they trust that food is what it says it is and is accurately labelled (78%) and 76% trusted the authenticity of ingredients/origin/quality of food. Findings also demonstrated that 83% of respondents felt they had enough information about what food contains to make their food choices.
Fieldwork for this wave took place in November 2019 when a representative sample of 2,101 adults aged 16 and over in England, Wales and Northern Ireland were interviewed face-to-face.
Wave 19 will be the last wave in this public attitudes tracker series. We will be moving to a web-push methodology with an increased sample particularly in Wales and Northern Ireland. The updated version of the tracker will be published later this year.