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More than 90 per cent of people living in the EU believe quality and price are important factors when buying food, according to a new investigation carried out by the European Commission.

The Eurobarometer survey on food security, food quality and the countryside, which polled more than 26,500 European citizens aged 15 and above across all 27 EU Member States, found that quality and price were deemed more important than origin (71 per cent) and brand (47 per cent) by the vast majority of those questioned.

In fact, almost two-thirds said they felt food quality was 'very important', while more than half regarded price in the same way.

'Quality labels are important for two-thirds of respondents, and there is an improvement on previous years in the recognition of the different EU quality logos,' the Eurobarometer's authors reported.

The survey showed that 24 per cent of those asked already recognised the EU organic logo, less than two years years after its launch.

On food security, meanwhile, three-quarters of EU citizens surveyed expressed concern at the challenge of feeding the world's population, although less than 60 per cent were concerned about the ability of individual EU member states to meet the food needs of their respective populations.

It would also appear that most EU citizens regard agriculture as making a positive contribution to preserve rural areas.

The key findings of the Eurobarometer survey, which can be downloaded from the European Commission website, were as follows:

Food security

  • Some 56 per cent of respondents are not preoccupied by the level of food production in their country and 57 per cent are not preoccupied by this at EU level as a whole.
  • On the other hand, 76 per cent of respondents are preoccupied by the level of food production in the world.
  • 84 per cent of people agree that the EU should help other countries to increase their food production.
  • Some 81 per cent agree that the EU should increase its own food production to depend less on imports.
  • 77 per cent agree that EU should produce more to satisfy the needs of its own citizens, as well as the demand from outside the EU.

Food quality

  • For 96 per cent of respondents food quality is a factor when deciding to buy or not to buy products – it comes even before price, which is cited by 91 per cent of respondents.
  • The origin of the product is less crucial, but still important to 71 per cent of respondents.
  • The brand on another hand is not considered important by 50 per cent of respondents, as opposed to the 47 per cent of those who consider it important.
  • Quality labels are important to 67 per cent of respondents.

Agriculture and the countryside

  • 81 per cent of respondents consider that agriculture is beneficial for the environment.
  • 86 per cent agree that agriculture contributes to the beauty of the countryside.
  • 89 per cent believe that agriculture helps to protect rural areas.