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Food safety perception: The disconnect between consumers and manufacturers

By Caroline Scott-Thomas, 21-Feb-2012

Related topics: Food safety and labeling, Food safety, Markets

A new global survey of food manufacturers found that most (98%) are confident about their food safety performance - but 70% of consumers aren't convinced. FoodNavigator-USA spoke to Hank Lambert, general manager of food and water at UL, which commissioned the survey.

Speaking at the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) conference in Orlando, Florida last week, Lambert said that there are two main reasons for this disconnect between consumer perception and manufacturer perception.

In part, it is a communication issue, he said, but it also reflects an increasing number of food recalls and foodborne illnesses, which have undermined consumer confidence in food safety in recent years. Consumers tend to generalize problems with food safety to the entire industry, Lambert said.

In addition, the survey found that about half of consumers think that product origin directly relates to product quality, and half said they were always or usually aware of the country of origin of the foods they buy. Lambert says this could create opportunities for food manufacturers.

The full study is available to download here .