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Consumers ‘no longer trust food labels’

Consumers ‘no longer trust food labels’

The level of trust consumers have in food industry labels has declined significantly, according to the results of a new survey.

Research carried out by Trace One involving 2,287 individuals in the UK aged 16 and over shows consumers are often confused by the information provided on labels, which subsequently alters their trust in a brand, the Retail Times reports.

Although £112 billion was spent on food and drink in 2013 alone, 63 per cent of survey respondents said their trust in the industry had been damaged following incidents such as the horse meat scandal and other contamination concerns.

In light of this, 83 per cent of consumers stated they would like improved transparency and information on any food products they may wish to purchase to increase their understanding of its ingredients and nutritional value.

Consumers aged 65 and over were found to have lost the greatest amount of trust in the food industry in recent years, with 16 to 25-year-olds having the lowest level of confidence in brands overall.

However, this younger age group was the one most concerned about seeing information regarding ethics - such as whether or not a product is organic or Fairtrade - on labels.

Senior vice president for Northern Europe at Trace One Nick Martin commented: "Consumers are clear on what needs to be done: they need more information and it needs to be completely transparent. While this may seem like a risk of flooding consumers with data, 21st century shoppers are increasingly savvy."

The survey also looked at which sorts of information consumers would most like to see on food labels, with 60 per cent listing calorie and fat content as one of the most important pieces. 

Despite this significant agreement that health information needs to be made clearer, there was still something of a divide, with 52 per cent wanting more clarity on sugar content and 48 per cent viewing details of fat levels as more important.

In addition - and somewhat worryingly - 64 per cent thought allergy warnings were overused by food manufacturers, leading to them to doubt their reliability. 

 

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