Just a third of British consumers have faith in the government to make sure food is safe to eat, a report on consumer trust has revealed.
According to social research organisation NatCen, only 33 per cent trust the government “a great deal” or “quite a lot” to guarantee their food is safe to eat, while a similar proportion (34 per cent) said they trusted supermarkets.
Some 29 per cent do not trust the government “very much” or “at all”, while 26 per cent said the same about supermarkets in NatCen.
By contrast, 68 per cent said they trust food inspectors “a great deal” or “quite a lot” to ensure food safety, with 58 per cent saying they trust farmers.
NatCen’s British Social Attitudes survey also revealed that the public has greater confidence in the quality of British food than it does in food from abroad.
Just over half of people (58 per cent) were sure that food from Britain was prepared to the highest quality standards, while less than a quarter (23 per cent) thought this about foreign produce.
When it comes to consumer choice, health was reported to be prioritised over low cost. Some 83 per cent said it matters “a great deal” or “quite a lot” that the food they buy is healthy, whereas low prices were important to less than half (47 per cent) of those surveyed.
Over two thirds (69 per cent) also found it important that food has not been heavily processed, while 58 per cent are concerned that the farmer or grower is paid a fair price. However, only 35 per cent thought it matters that food is grown locally.
Commenting on the findings, NatCen’s Caireen Roberts said: “Healthiness of food is clearly an important issue when buying food, more so than considerations around the origin and cost.
“While confidence in the quality of food produced in Britain was just over 50 per cent, it was higher than levels of confidence in imported food and we also saw low levels of trust in the government, supermarkets and food manufacturers.”