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For consumers around the world, access to safe and nutritious food is an essential requirement for maintaining their overall health and well-being. Accordingly, food producers make significant investments to ensure the safety of their food products and to reduce the risks associated with consumer exposure to contaminated or unsafe foods. Producer efforts to provide safe food can impact every aspect of the entire sourcing and production supply chain, and represent an important component of the total expenditures related to food production.
But how do producer efforts measure up when it comes to consumers’ opinions and attitudes about food safety? How does the origin of food products affect consumers’ beliefs about whether a particular food product is safe to eat? What is the impact of food safety recalls on consumer buying habits? Most important, are consumers willing to pay a higher price for food that has been evaluated for safety by an independent third-party?
The TÜV SÜD Safety Gauge is an independent study to evaluate consumer and business attitudes and experiences regarding product safety practices, first conducted in 2012 and most recently in 2016. The Safety Gauge Food Segment report reveals the increasing importance of food safety to consumers around the world, as well as their views about producer efforts to improve food safety. This article discusses the results of the most recent Safety Gauge Food Segment report and the implications of the study’s findings for food producers.
Safety Gauge study background
The TÜV SÜD Safety Gauge study was conducted in 2016 by an independent market research firm to develop a better understanding of the state of safety around the world. Study research was conducted among consumers and business professionals in top-tier cities across the U.S., Germany, China and India. These four markets collectively represent almost half (46.6 percent) of worldwide Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Study data was collected from surveys of over 3500 consumers and more than 600 decision-makers directly involved in safety and quality issues in their respective companies.
Key findings from the study
Our Safety Gauge Food Segment report confirmed a number of trends regarding consumer attitudes about the safety of food, as well as the state of food safety best practices among participants in the food industry. Here are some of the study’s key findings:
It is also important to note that food businesses are significantly more likely to used third-party inspections, compared with businesses in other industries.
Implications for the food industry
The TÜV SÜD Safety Gauge Food Segment study results point to three specific areas where producers can improve the safety of their food products, as follows:
Food producers are working hard to improve the safety of their products. The findings of the TÜV SÜD Safety Gauge Food Segment study indicate that food producers share similar challenges regarding their food safety efforts. Consumers will unquestionably continue to demand that food producers comply with the highest possible food safety standards. The only question is whether food producers will provide them with the assurances of food safety that they seek. In the end, food producers that master these challenges not only reduce risk to consumers but also add genuine value to their products, thereby making them more attractive in a competitive marketplace.
The complete report on TÜV SÜD Safety Gauge Food Segment study is available here.
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