Public Attitudes Tracker survey results published

The FSA’s Biannual Public Attitudes Tracker (November 2017) results have been published. We conduct this tracking survey with consumers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, in order to monitor changes in consumer attitudes towards the Agency and food-related issues. This Wave included 16 new questions.

Food issues of concern

The top food safety issues of concern for respondents were:

  • Food hygiene when eating out (36%)
  • Food poisoning (30%)
  • Chemicals from the environment, such as lead, in food (29%)
  • Food additives (26%)

The top wider food issues of concern were:

  • The amount of sugar in food (52%)
  • Food waste (48%)
  • Food prices (46%)
  • Animal welfare (43%)

Concern about food safety in UK food outlets

45% of respondents reported concern about food safety in UK restaurants, pubs, cafes and takeaways. 42% of respondents reported concern about food safety in UK shops and supermarkets. The general overall trend for concern for food safety in both restaurants and shops has decreased since Wave 1.

Awareness of hygiene standards

84% of respondents reported being aware of the hygiene standards in places they eat out at or buy food from. The most commonly reported ways of knowing about hygiene standards were via hygiene stickers / certificates (61%) and the general appearance of the premises (60%). 

Awareness of the FSA

Findings demonstrate that 78% of respondents reported being aware of the FSA, similar to previous waves. Of those aware of the FSA, 70% trusted the FSA to do its job, and 75% 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 (88%) reported the FSA to be responsible for. 

Awareness of food poisoning

Salmonella and E-coli were by far the most commonly known types of food poisoning (total awareness of 89% and 82% respectively). Perceived most likely sources of food poisoning were raw chicken or turkey (79%), followed by shellfish (54%), reheated take-away food (47%) and eggs (38%).

Awareness and incidence of allergens

18% of respondents were aware of specific rules about allergens, and 10% reported that they have a food intolerance and / or allergy themselves. Most people (70%-77%) reported feeling confident to ask members of staff at food outlets for more information about ingredients in food because of a concern about possible allergens/food intolerance.

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 (75%) and 74% trusted the authenticity of ingredients / origin / quality of food. Findings also demonstrated that 44% of respondents trusted that people who produce and sell food have their best interests at heart.


Fieldwork for this wave took place in November 2017 when a representative sample of 1,989 adults in England, Wales and Northern Ireland were interviewed face-to-face.

Biannual Public Attitudes Tracker November 2017

The FSA conducts a tracking survey with consumers, in order to monitor changes in consumer attitudes towards the Agency and food- related issues.