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Behaviour and perception

What role does consumer and Food Business Operator behaviour and perception play in ensuring food safety and standards? 

The Behaviour and Perception Area of Research Interest (ARI) looks at understanding the role that consumer and business behaviour and perception has in ensuring food safety and standards. The overarching aim of this ARI is to investigate consumers’ and businesses’ behaviours, beliefs and potential misconceptions around food hygiene and safety. 

Under this ARI we will identify research gaps, collect evidence and data on a range of topics, including:

  • food allergies
  • food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) 
  • behaviours in kitchens
  • meat sector compliance incentives

This ARI will provide a range of evidence that will be analysed and used by FSA teams in alignment with the FSA’s mission. Through identification of knowledge gaps, we can inform policy making in an efficient and targeted way, to achieve higher regulatory compliance, as well as a positive impact on consumers’ health. As the independent government department with the exclusive remit for food, it will enable us to fulfil a crucial role in informing the wider debates around issues such as food affordability. 

Research projects related to the programme

Food Hygiene Rating Scheme Audit of Display and Business Survey 2021

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) is designed to help consumers make more considered choices about where they eat out or shop for food by providing ‘at-a-glance’ information about the hygiene standards of food businesses found at the time of their last inspection by a local authority’s food safety officer.

Trends in Twitter conversations about food during 2019-20

This report gives a high-level summary of social media analysis divided by key categories to build our understanding of the views and concerns of the public when it comes to food. The analysis includes deep dive analyses on key category macro trends and key findings from audience analysis.

Consumer insights tracker

Research and consumer insight on behaviours and attitudes to food insecurity, food availability, consumer concerns and confidence in the food chain.

Citizen science and food

The Citizen Science and Food report sets out how citizen science has been applied and how it is relevant to the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) areas of research interest.

The COVID-19 consumer research

The Food Standards Agency with Ipsos Mori and Bright Harbour carried out research in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to monitor the experience and behaviours of consumers when it comes to key food risks during the pandemic.

Consumer Attitudes towards Emerging Technologies

Given the Food Standard Agency (FSA)’s focus on protecting consumer interests in relation to food, understanding consumer views of emerging and new food technologies is important. The FSA commissioned Collingwood Environmental to provide an up to date literature review and deliver qualitative research to explore what consumers views are on emerging technologies.

Food and Generation Z

Social science research to improve the understanding of Generation Z (broadly 16-25-year-olds) and their attitudes towards food and the food system.

Communicating risk

Research exploring how a regulator can communicate food risk most effectively in modern society.