The latest biannual public attitudes survey from the FSA is out today.
The main findings are that:
The main food issues of total concern for respondents were food prices (61%), the amount of salt in food (50%), the amount of fat in food and food waste (both at 44%). Food safety issues were reported by fewer respondents to be issues of concern.
The main food safety issues of total concern for respondents were food hygiene when eating out (37%) and food poisoning such as Salmonella and E. Coli (30%). Respondents were also concerned about the use of additives in food products (28%).
There’s no dramatic changes from previous trackers – prices, healthiness and waste continue to be the main issues of ‘total concern’, ahead of food safety. This wave was surveyed just before the European E.coli outbreak. It would have been interesting to see whether the survey captured any change. When the lens shifts to ‘unprompted concerns’, price concerns are way ahead, while waste falls down the list – and is significantly less of a concern than when the survey was conducted in November.
My favourite part though, is the question on what people think the FSA is responsible for. 86% of people say that they are responsible for food safety. Beyond that, there are a range of other options, some of which even people in the FSA might struggle to answer, given how areas like labelling and healthy eating policies have been haphazardly carved up between DEFRA and the DoH. Here the survey may be less a question of public attitudes, more an attempt to redefine the FSA’s identity by public consensus.