We have lost confidence in the safety of our food and our pet’s food.
According to a study done by the Food Marketing Institute in May, only 66% of shoppers felt confident that the food that they buy from the grocery store is safe. This was a significant drop from last year when 82% felt confident in food safety.
This rings alarm bells for the Food Marketing Institute because they normally don’t see such significant drops in confidence that quickly. (Well, when thousands of pets are dying and sick from their pet food, consumer confidence will plummet.)
IBM also conducted a food safety survey and they found similar results in consumer confidence. They also found out that 70% of consumers have low levels of trust in the claims that brands make about their health, wellness or environmental impact.
A consumer products analyst with IBM said that the decrease in consumer confidence in food safety isn’t due to the number of recalls but the high-profile, long-lasting nature of the recalls.
The food industry is taking steps to regain consumer confidence. The FDA is testing a program that would include photos of the most dangerous recalled goods to clarify which products are affected.
Numerous private companies are also joining in and releasing products that they say will increase consumer confidence in food safety.
From The Washington Times:
With a Dutch company, Corporate Express, YottaMark developed HarvestMark products, which include a code that growers place on a package of produce. Shoppers then enter the code at harvestmark.com and see where the produce was grown, when it was picked, who picked it and every place it went on the path to the grocery store.
HarvestMark was designed to be used in the event of a product recall, when shoppers could enter the code online to check whether that container has been recalled. But the company has found that consumers are more confident in the safety of their produce, year round, when they can see where it has been, Mr. Grant said.
HarvestMark products are only available in cities where participating growers send their goods. For now, it’s available in the Western United States.
Other tracking products include IBM’s “Veggie Vision,” a scanner that can locate where a product was grown, who picked it and on what date.
“The ability to track an individual [grocery] item, that is really rare and at the end of the day, the trust really goes up,” Mr. Blissett said.
The Veggie Vision technology requires product growers to provide tracking information. It’s becoming popular in Britain and Japan.
Dennis Francis, vice president of label development at Corporate Express, said he expects tracking information to one day be government-mandated.
He expects it to happen in a similar way to how nutritional labeling on foods began by producers but is now required by the government.
“We’re moving toward that right now,” he said. “This is in response to what the consumers really want and mandates are always behind consumer demand.”