Food Safety Remains Worry for Shoppers, Deloitte Survey Finds

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Food Safety Remains Worry for Shoppers, Deloitte Survey Finds


Consumers continue to be weary of recalls and are concerned about the safety of goods they bring into their homes, according to Deloitte's new 2011 Consumer Food and Product Insight Survey. In addition, they are looking for more detailed information about product recalls, with more transparency from multiple sources.

Although shoppers still primarily hold manufacturers and government entities responsible for communicating recall details -- 73 percent and 69 percent respectively -- Internet access and social media are driving consumers to advocacy groups (35 percent vs. 23 percent last year) and peers (27 percent vs. 19 percent last year) for timely recall information, according to the survey.

"Consumers want checks and balances in the information they receive and are insisting on a greater level of transparency about the safety, ingredients and origin of products," said Pat Conroy, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP and U.S. consumer products practice leader. "So they're turning to advocacy groups and peers as trusted sources. This is a wake-up call for consumer products companies; they need to get ahead of this shift and work more directly with consumers to build brand advocates and stronger customer relationships."

Deloitte's survey also found that, despite the FDA's attempt to get the word out about the new Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), nearly seven out of 10 consumers (68 percent) are not familiar with the law, which is the first major overhaul of the nation's food safety system since the Great Depression.

The Deloitte survey shows that consumers identify safety as their number one concern for household products -- such as cleaners and detergents (56 percent), and personal care products like cosmetics and moisturizers (57 percent). Regarding food products, the healthiness of ingredients is the number one concern for more than half of consumers surveyed (up 5 percentage points from 2010 to 54 percent).

The survey was commissioned by Deloitte and conducted online by an independent research company from March 1-3, 2011. The survey polled a nationally representative sample of 1,050 consumers.