Internet Spurs Consumer Food Safety Action

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Internet Spurs Consumer Food Safety Action


More information from more resources – this is what consumers want when it comes to getting and receiving timely and detailed information about product recalls.

That’s according to Deloitte’s 2011 Consumer Food and Product Insight Survey, which shows that while 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 vs. 23 percent last year) and peers (27 vs. 19 percent last year) for timely recall information.

“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. So, they’re turning to advocacy groups and peers as trusted sources,” said Pat Conroy, Deloitte LLP vice chairman and U.S. consumer products practice leader. “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.”

With the government’s new Food Safety Modernization Act now under way, Deloitte’s survey found that, despite the FDA’s attempt to get the word out, 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. However, consumers continue to be weary of recalls and concerned about the safety of goods they bring into their homes.

“The Food Safety Modernization Act is in place, but its effects have yet to trickle down to consumers,” Conroy said. “This is the time for consumer product companies to more actively talk about the safety and health of their brands.”
The Deloitte survey shows that consumers identify safety as their No. 1 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).

Consumer attitudes towards the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s new online database is also further evidence of the appetite consumers have for greater information about the food they eat and the products they buy. According to Deloitte’s survey, more than nine out of 10 consumers feel this database will be important in helping them make future purchasing decisions.

For a copy of Deloitte’s 2011 Consumer Food and Product Insight Survey, visit

The survey was conducted online by an independent research company on March 1 to 3. The survey polled a nationally representative sample of 1,050 consumers.