Survey reveals consumer attitudes to food safety in ANZ

Wednesday, 05 June, 2024

Survey reveals consumer attitudes to food safety in ANZ

The Consumer Insights Tracker (CIT), a survey run by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) gathering insights from over 2000 people, has found consumers rate nutrition above other food values, confidence in food supply is varied and consumers are still wary of cell-based meat.

Confidence in food supply

Of the individuals surveyed, 72% of consumers were confident that food and drinks sold in Australian and New Zealand shops and supermarkets are safe to eat. Those who trust the people involved in our food system, like farmers, supermarkets or government food authorities, are more likely to be confident in the safety of the food supply.

All groups involved in the food system were trusted by most people. Most trusted were farmers and producers trusted by 83%. Least trusted were food manufacturers and processors trusted by 57%. 

Nutrition most valued food attribute

Following review of the findings, FNANZ found that nearly three-quarters of consumers (73%) reported putting effort into maintaining a healthy diet. Nutrition-related labelling elements were the most important to consumers when deciding whether to buy a food for the first time.

The Nutrition Information Panel and the ingredients list were both the most important and among the most trusted. However, nutrient/ingredient content claims and the Health Star Rating were among the most important but the least trusted.

Cell based caution

Most consumers would not be confident in the safety of cell-based meat if it became available for sale, with 62% of consumers stating they would not be confident in the safety of cell-based meat if it became available for sale in Australia and New Zealand.

Only 24% of respondents said they would eat cell-based meat. However, a further 29% were unsure, perhaps suggesting they may be open to trying it.

Collecting information on consumer insights

FSANZ CEO Dr Sandra Cuthbert said the bi-national standards agency was committed to building trust and confidence in the food supply and would run the CIT every year to track consumer attitudes to food safety over time.

“Public confidence in the food supply is critical to supporting good public health and economic outcomes in Australia and New Zealand while delivering broader social and cultural benefits,” said Cuthbert.

“FSANZ sets the standards for safe food and works with public health, government, academic and industry partners in both countries to keep the food supply safe, so it’s important for us to understand what consumers want and need from the bi-national food regulation system.

“The CIT will give FSANZ and our partners valuable insights into consumer attitudes, understanding and trust in food labelling and regulation to help inform our work and monitor changes over time.”

The survey includes core questions that will be repeated annually to collect trend data, alongside questions to provide point-in-time data on current food safety topics and issues.

The full 2023 CIT report is available on the FSANZ website.

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