Trust in food supply chain remains high, consumer survey reveals
The latest wave of the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) Food and You 2 survey shows that public trust in food safety, authenticity, and the food supply chain remained high, even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In wave three of the survey published today, 90% of respondents reported they were confident that the food they buy is safe to eat. Almost three quarters (73%) reported that they had confidence in the food supply chain, with most respondents (87%) reporting confidence in farmers.
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. The survey was conducted between April and June 2021.
Emily Miles, Chief Executive at the FSA said:
‘It’s interesting to see that public trust in food safety, authenticity and the food supply chain remains strong despite a challenging couple of years for the food industry. All parts of the food system have been forced to adapt to the impact of COVID-19 and food supply shortages, so it is noteworthy that the public remain confident the food they buy is safe and what it says it is.
‘Our priority will continue to be to keep food safe and maintain trust in our food system. As we move into a new year the FSA will continue to support the COVID recovery, while also looking at how we can contribute our insights and skills to the government’s agenda for a healthier and more sustainable food system.'
Wave 3 key findings
Confidence in food safety, authenticity, and the food supply chain
- Most respondents (90%) reported that they were confident that the food they buy is safe to eat and more than 8 in 10 (83%) respondents were confident that the information on food labels is accurate
- Almost three quarters of respondents (73%) reported that they had confidence in the food supply chain
- Respondents were more likely to report confidence in farmers (87%), shops and supermarkets (83%) than in take-aways (56%), and food delivery services (41%)
Concerns about food
- Most respondents (80%) had no concerns about the food they eat
- The most common prompted concerns were the amount of sugar in food (63%), and food waste (61%)
- Food security levels were comparable across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Over three quarters of respondents were food secure (i.e. had high or marginal food security) in England (85%), Wales (82%) and Northern Ireland (84%). Approximately 1 in 6 respondents were food insecure (i.e. had low or very low food security) in England (15%), Wales (18%) and Northern Ireland (16%)
Food shopping and labelling
- Most respondents reported that they often check the use-by (84%) or best before (82%) date when buying food
- Most respondents (83%) who go food shopping and take into consideration a person who has a food allergy or intolerance were confident that the information provided on food labelling allows them to identify foods that will cause a bad or unpleasant physical reaction
- Around half (52%) of respondents had ordered food or drink via on online ordering and delivery company (for example, Just Eat, Deliveroo, Uber Eats) and 30% had ordered via an online marketplace (for example Amazon, Gumtree, Etsy)
- Fewer respondents had ordered food or drink via social media (for example, Facebook, Instagram, Nextdoor) (14%) or a food sharing app (for example Olio, Too Good To Go) (8%)
Food-related behaviours and eating habits
- Eating habits had changed for most respondents in the last 12 months
- The most common changes related to what and where respondents ate (57% eaten out less, 55% eaten at home more, 50% cooked more at home, 39% eaten fewer takeaways)
About the report
Fieldwork for Food and You 2: Wave 3 was conducted between 28 April 2021 and 25 June 2021. A total of 6,271 adults from 4,338 households across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland took part.
Read the research
The full Wave 3 report is available in the research section of our website.