NFU Mutual report shows most British shoppers do not trust foreign food chains

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New research commissioned by NFU Mutual reveals that almost nine out of ten people in the UK do not trust foreign food chains. Only 12% of respondents had confidence in the European food supply chain and just 7% in global food suppliers.

A third of the people surveyed said they were less trusting of food than they were five years ago and almost three quarters (72%) believe there is an issue with ‘food fraud’ in the UK. The least trusted product types were processed foods, red meat and supplements.

The report is designed to benefit businesses working across the field to fork supply chain. It explores the effects of high profile cases of food fraud, such as the 2013 horse meat scandal, have had upon consumer confidence and behaviour, and the impact upon retailers, producers and hospitality businesses. The report also contains advice to help businesses to protect themselves against the threat of food fraud, and improve customer trust.

It includes viewpoints and advice from major industry bodies including the British Retail Consortium, the Food and Drink Federation, the British Hospitality Association and the National Farmers’ Retail and Markets Association.

Frank Woods, retail sector specialist at NFU Mutual, said: “There has never been a more important time for tackling food fraud and getting regulation right, but government proposals for where we will get our food from are already under tough scrutiny from industry and consumers alike with concerns over quality.

“Producers are under immense pressure to offset price rises caused by the weakened value of sterling and higher import costs, squeezing already tight budgets and resources and potentially cornering them into using cheaper global suppliers that may be more vulnerable to fraud.

“Our research exposes the damaging effect that various influencers have had on consumer confidence over time. Much of the industry is addressing this by changing its supply strategy and supporting British produce - likely to be popular with a majority of consumers who want to support local businesses on home soil. How British farmers, producers, retailers and caterers will be supported and enabled to deliver the quantity of food required and improve consumer confidence remains to be seen.”

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