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Consumer trust in Britain’s food industry is at an all-time low, according to the data which states that only a third of UK consumers have trust in the food they are buying. Their trust is weakened as a result of lack of clarity around where the food products they are buying come from – only 13 per cent believe that food companies make it easy to find this information. Suspicion about the provenance of food is rife due to food producers being unclear about the ingredients they use in their products.
Transparency regarding ingredients has been ranked as the most important priority for 82 per cent of respondents, placing it above quality and price.
75 per cent of consumers would like to know more about how the food they eat is processed, 71 per cent desire more information about where and how their meat is grown and raised, and 47 per cent have requested more detail from producers regarding the source of food, production techniques and the farm or supplier.
Food labels have been described as the window to the food system, and the research shows that 57 per cent of consumers want to be able to recognise all of the ingredients listed on a food label, and to be able to learn more than nutritional information from a label.
New regulations have been put into place: by 1st January 2014 the rules on the composition and labelling of minced meat must be adhered to, and by 13th December 2014 general labelling rules including allergen and nutrition information should be in place.
Joanne Scott of Strawberry Standards said, “What is certain is that brands, retailers, designers and other areas of the packaging supply chain need to act quickly to make sure their packs comply with the new regulations. December 2014 will come around very quickly and those that fail to act soon will find themselves rushing to comply. We have a Food Labelling Helpline (0845 548 8900) that food companies can utilise and we are offering free consultations to food firms to access the impact on the new regulations on their labels. The consultations are with Trading Standards Officers and can be over the telephone, in person or even Skpe for our international clients.”