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Distrustful Shoppers Want More Information On Their Food
British consumers have had their trust in the food industry severely dented by food scandals such as the horsemeat crisis, according to independent research commissioned by Trace One.
According to the survey, 63% of shoppers said their trust in the food industry had been damaged by revelations such as the horsemeat crisis; along with incidents in West Yorkshire and Leicester where food contents were found to be vastly different from their labels.
However, shoppers were also clear on what retailers needed to do to win their trust back: 83% stated that they want increased transparency and information for food products, in order to be more confident in the origin of food products and their ingredients.
“Consumers are growing increasingly savvy, and their message to the food industry is clear: if you don’t give us the information we need, how can we trust you?” said Nick Martin, Senior Vice President, Northern Europe at Trace One.
“It is crucial that retailers and manufacturers give shoppers the information they need, when they need it. To do this, they must have complete transparency and visibility across the entire supply line: something that is sadly all too often lacking. Retailers, manufacturers and suppliers should be able to collaborate and communicate and know exactly what is in their products, where it came from and at what stage it was added. While sharing all of this with consumers might seem like a flood of data, it’s better to be as open as possible rather than appearing to hold back potentially crucial facts.”
The survey also asked shoppers which information on food packaging was the most important, and most likely to influence their purchasing decisions.
Health information, for example calorie or fat counts, was the clear winner; 60% listed it as the first or second most important information on a label, with 36% and 24% in total. In contrast, only 10% listed it as the least important. At the other end of the scale ethics, such as whether food was fair trade or battery farmed, was seen as the least important to shoppers. Only 9% of consumers placed it as the most important consideration, while almost half (49%) placed it last or second from last. Given the attention paid to organic and GM foods, farming methods were also important to consumers. While 15% ranked them as the most important consideration, only 32% ranked them as the least or second least; lower than any other factor.
Despite ranking it the highest, consumers could not agree on what specific health information they needed the most. When choosing between sugar and fat content, 52% claimed sugar was most important and 48% fat, a nearly equal split.
Interestingly, the statistics across the board showed clear differences by age. The over-65s showed the greatest loss of trust in the food industry; were most demanding of extra information and transparency on products; and were disproportionally concerned about products’ country of origin. In comparison, 16-24year-olds showed the least trust lost in the food industry and were the age group most concerned about information on ethics.
The survey also showed that, in an attempt to obey regulations and protect consumer health, the food industry has over-used warning labels on products to the point that they are seen as meaningless. 64% of shoppers stated that allergy warnings are overused so much that products most probably don’t contain anything harmful to allergy sufferers.
“Along with withholding information, the easiest way to lose the trust of consumers is to only give them information they feel isn’t useful,” continued Nick Martin.
“While the industry is bound by law to include allergy information, it needs to use food labelling to clearly state the exact reason for any warning, so consumers can understand the precise risks they face and make an informed judgement. More broadly, the industry needs to be sure it is giving consumers what they want and need: whether ensuring that health and farming information is clearly and comprehensively displayed, or targeting products at older or younger shoppers with more specific country of origin or ethics information. In order to do this we need collaboration and transparency across the industry, from the farm to the factory to the shop shelf. Only with this can retailers be certain that they are attracting customers and securing their trust.”
Which? Research Reveals Ready Meals With More Sugar Than A Chocolate Bar
New Which? research reveals the supermarket ready meals that are high in added sugar, with some containing 50g of sugar – your entire recommended daily allowance.
Which? looked at 17 ready meals and found: • Sainsbury’s Sweet and Sour with Chicken and Rice contained 50.7g of sugar, the equivalent of around 10 teaspoons per pack and almost double that of a standard size Dairy Milk chocolate bar which contains 25.5g of sugar. • Tesco Thai Chicken Pad Thai with Rice Noodles may seem a healthy option but contained 37.8g of sugar, which is more than a can of Coca-Cola • Tesco Everyday Value Sweet and Sour Chicken with Rice was also high in sugar, containing 48.4g per pack. • Added sugar is the third or fourth ingredient in all of these meals and the main source of sugar.
Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said: “With rising obesity rates, it is shocking to find that ready meals contain more sugar than a chocolate bar. We want the Government to set clear targets for calorie reduction as part of the Responsibility Deal with food businesses.”
The latest Sandwich market data analysis from the British Sandwich Association shows a steadily improving trend in consumption and more clarity on demographics.
The data was announced at the launch of the new www.LoveSarnies.com Smartphone App at the Sandwich Designer of the Year Final.
How many sandwiches were sold in the UK? In the last year the sandwich market has seen sales of 3.5 billion sandwiches totalling £7.25 billion. The industry employs over 300,000 people in the UK alone.
Sandwich bars are the most popular outlet for commercially made sandwiches which is not surprising in and of itself. What is surprising is that just 32% of sandwiches are sold this way. Staff/work canteens etc. account for 13% if the market, coffee bars 11% and multiple supermarkets 10%.
How many each? Everyone buys sandwiches but there is a bias towards males (57%), upmarket shoppers (68% ABC1) and those of a working age (69.2% under 54). The average shopper buys just over 1 sandwich a week (55.1 per annum) – more in Scotland (60.4 per annum) and West Midlands (60.3).
In the South West the average consumer has just 32.4 sandwiches per year preferring other savoury snack such as pasties.
What goes with a sandwich? Over a third (36.1%) of sandwich trips also feature a hot beverage but a strong over-index for cakes and pastries (24.8%) gives an insight into wider eating habits. Just 3% of sandwich eaters snack on chocolate while a tiny 0.4% have sugary confectionary.
Favourite filling? 31% of sandwiches are made with chicken. A very versatile ingredient, this can be served many ways to suit plain or spicy pallets. Cheese (13%) and Ham (11%) are slowly gaining in popularity. Bacon sarnies may be a British classic but just 5% of commercially made sandwiches contain any.
On which bread? Some traditions do hold firm, and square sandwich bread is still out in front with 57% (mostly cut into triangles, of course). Rolls and baps have 24% of the market but growing in popularity are wraps with 5%.
Light bites. The sandwich industry uses 275,000 tons of bread annually that’s about 1,618 Blue Whales or 39,286 double decker busses. Square sandwich bread accounts for 57% of the market so at 10cm long and 25g in weight, if laid end to end would get to the moon and more than halfway back. So if the moon is made of cheese…
Bottom line. On average a sandwich will cost £2.07 and commercial sandwiches account for some 25% of the market. A sandwich enjoys 75.5% market penetration and just 2% of those sold came from the “Value” section.