The 'Food and You' survey

Food and you
Food and You is the FSA’s flagship consumer survey. It is a biennial, random probability survey, with previous waves conducted in 2010, 2012, and 2014. Wave 4 (2016) of the survey is currently in progress, and is being carried out by NatCen Social Research on behalf of the FSA.

About the survey

The Food and You survey is used to collect information about reported behaviours, attitudes and knowledge relating to food issues. It provides data on people’s reported food purchasing, storage, preparation, consumption and factors that may affect these, such as eating habits, influences on where respondents choose to eat out and experiences of food poisoning.

Wave 4 survey

Fieldwork for Wave 4 of the Food and You survey took place May to September 2016. If your household took  part in an interview and you have any questions or comments please contact NatCen Social Research, who are carrying out the research on behalf of the FSA, by calling 0800 652 0601 or emailing Further information on the study is available at on the NatCen website.

Alternatively, if you have any comments or questions for the Food Standards Agency about the Food and You survey, you can get in touch by emailing or calling 020 276 8829.

Wave 3 survey

The objectives for Wave 3 of the Food and You survey were to collect quantitative information to enable the FSA to:

  • explore public understanding of, and engagement with, the FSA’s aim of improving food safety
  • identify specific target groups for future interventions (eg those most at risk or those among whom FSA policies and initiatives are likely to have the greatest impact)
  • monitor changes over time (compared with data from Waves 1 and 2 or from other sources) of reported attitudes and behaviour
  • broaden the evidence base and develop indicators to assess progress in fulfilling the FSA’s strategic plans, aims and targets

Wave 3 of the survey consisted of 3,453 interviews across the UK among a representative sample of adults aged 16 and over. Samples in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales were boosted to approximately 500 interviews to enable more detailed analysis at a nation level, and an individual report has been produced for each of the four UK nations (England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland). Fieldwork was carried out between March and August 2014.

Executive summary and bulletins

Executive summaries of the findings for the UK and each of the four UK nations can be found via the links below. These provide brief overviews of Wave 3 findings.

Descriptive overviews of the key findings for the UK and each UK nation are available in separate bulletin reports. These can be found lower down this page. While these bulletins provide an overview of the descriptive findings, a secondary analysis project has been commissioned which will further explore these data. Reports from this project will be published here in the form of working papers in due course.

Bulletin 1: Eating, cooking and shopping

This bulletin reports findings on consumer practices related to eating, cooking and shopping, including information about frequency of cooking and eating at home; variation in changes in eating and shopping for financial reasons; and information on where people learnt to cook, and get information about food safety. Findings are also included on dietary restrictions, including allergy incidence.

Bulletin 2: Food safety in the home

This bulletin reports findings on domestic food safety practices. This includes practices related to the ‘4 Cs’ (cooking, cleaning, chilling, and cross-contamination) and use and understanding of date labels, specifically use-by dates. Reported behaviour in relation to use of leftovers and reheating food is also considered

Bulletin 3: Eating outside the home

This bulletin reports findings relating to eating outside the home. This includes frequency of eating out and the types of establishments visited; perception of food standards and hygiene when eating out; and awareness and use of hygiene standard indicators, including the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme and Food Hygiene Information Scheme.

Bulletin 4: Food poisoning and attitudes towards food safety and food production

This bulletin reports findings on reported incidence of food poisoning, attitudes to food safety and food production. This includes whether respondents have experienced food poisoning and whether they went to a doctor or hospital as a result; whether respondents agree or disagree with a range of statements about food safety practices; and how concerned respondents are about imported food products.

Bulletin 5: Advice on healthy eating

This bulletin reports findings for Northern Ireland and Scotland on advice of healthy eating. This includes knowledge of nutritional recommendations, including the eatwell plate and ‘5-a-day’; knowledge of the fruits and vegetables that count as a portion towards the 5-a-day recommendation; awareness of recommended daily intake of calories, fat, and salt; and perception of factors which are important for a healthy lifestyle.

Bulletin 6: Health and eating

This bulletin reports findings for Northern Ireland and Scotland on eating and health. This includes attitudes towards healthy eating; consumption of different types of food; perceptions of diet; dietary change, including barriers and motivation to change; and eating out and eating healthily.

Use our data

We are keen for others to engage with and make use of these data. If you do so, the FSA is interested to hear about your work:

Technical reports

The technical report provides the technical details of the survey, including a full description of the methods used at Wave 3, detailed information about response rates, and copies of key survey documents such as the questionnaire, advance letter and leaflet.

An additional technical report was produced on the impact of the increasing value of incentives, and how this may have contributed to shaping the profile of respondents, the survey response rate, the maximum expected bias within key demographic subclasses, and the survey estimates produced based on the Food and You Wave 3 survey data.

Cognitive testing report

This report summarises the key findings from the cognitive testing, in addition to recommendations which have been made in light of the key learning’s gathered over the course of the interviews.

Compliance with GSR and GSS codes of practice

Food and You is compliant with the Government Social Research (GSR) Code of Practice and Government Statistical Service (GSS) Code of Practice for Official Statistics. Compliant reports are published with the GSR and GSS logos respectively.

GSR logo

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