Food and You is used to collect information about the public’s self-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. The Food and You survey is published once every two years
The Food Standards Agency uses the information provided by Food and You to inform our policies and work with consumers. It is also a rich resource for anybody interested in understanding consumer behaviour and attitudes towards food over a number of years.
This wave, as in previous waves, consumers were asked questions about broad topics such as:
- Shopping, cooking and eating
- Food safety in the home
- Eating outside the home
- Experiences and attitudes towards food poisoning
- Attitudes and concerns about food production and the food system
Along with new questions on:
- Food allergy and intolerance
- Food security
- Our food futures
- Food authenticity
- Awareness and concerns about chemicals in food
In Wales, the survey found that consumers report a number of practices that are in line with FSA recommendations on food safety in the home:
- More than eight out of ten respondents in Wales reported hand washing behaviours in line with recommended practices, saying they always washed their hands before starting to prepare or cook food (86%), and immediately after handling raw meat, poultry or fish (89%).
- The FSA recommends that the use by date is the best indicator of whether food is safe to eat, and this was cited as an indicator of whether food was safe to eat by 80% respondents in Wales.
The survey also flagged areas where consumers report not following recommended best practice:
- Welsh respondents were asked which methods they used to defrost meat or fish. The most common method was leaving meat or fish at room temperature (56%), which is not recommended.
The findings also help to build a picture of Welsh consumer’s eating out practices and highlight the importance of cleanliness and hygiene when people decide where to eat out.
- When shown a list of factors which might influence their decision on where to eat out, 71% of respondents in Wales reported that the cleanliness and hygiene of the establishment was important to them; overall a third (34%) of respondents who ate out considered this the most important factor
New questions introduced in this wave provide insight to inform the FSA’s future work. This includes:
- Questions on allergy and intolerance showing that of those in Wales who reported an adverse reaction or avoided certain foods, the most common foods that people reported having an adverse reaction to were cows’ milk and cows’ milk products (25%), cereals containing gluten (11%) and eggs (8%).
The report also provides some comparisons between consumers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.