Food recalls amplify consumer concern

12-06-2008 | | |

Food recalls, particularly when it comes to meat products, increase consumer concerns about the products they buy. Some consumers have even stopped buying products, or eating certain foods.

These were the results of a survey conducted by Deloitte Consulting. Of those surveyed, 73% said they believe the number of food-related recalls has increased in the past year; 76% of consumers are more concerned about the foods they eat than 5 years ago; and 57% have stopped eating a particular food, temporarily or permanently, as a result of recalls.
Meat product recalls
The survey results show that concerns are especially high around recalls of meat products, with 78% of consumers saying they are most concerned by beef recalls, followed by chicken recalls (67%), recalls of fresh fruit and vegetables (53%) and recalls of dairy products (53%).
Products from outside US
Consumers also expressed reservations about foods produced outside the US – 56% think imported foods are “not at all” or only “somewhat” safe, whereas 80% believe domestically produced foods are safe.
“These findings underscore how urgent it is for food manufacturers to do all they can to address the problem of food recalls head-on,” said Pat Conroy, Deloitte LLP’s vice chairman. “… over half of today’s consumers may drop your product if they believe you are not doing what it takes to protect them and their families. Food manufacturers may consider taking a total approach to ensure the safety of their brands, all the way from the farm, to the supply chain, the store shelves and even the consumer’s pantry.”
“In today’s environment, consumers are seeking fresher ingredients, giving locally grown food providers an important advantage they haven’t really had in the past,” said Conroy. “If food safety concerns continue to grow, consumers may be increasingly likely to shop outside the grocery store for fresh meats, produce and dairy products.”
The survey was commissioned by Deloitte and conducted online by an independent research company on April 21, 2008. The survey polled a nationally representative sample of 1,110 consumers.