Trace One research analyzes US and UK consumer buying behaviors and perceptions of food safety and quality

13th July 2015

BOSTON, Mass., – Trace One, a global leader in private brand product lifecycle management (PLM) solutions and transparency software for retailers, manufacturers and suppliers, today announced the results of its “Consumer Food Safety and Quality” research in the United States and United Kingdom.

According to the data, an overwhelming majority of consumers say it’s important to them to know where their food comes from, and nearly two-thirds said they feel that consumers do not have enough information about their food. Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, less than seven percent wholeheartedly trust the quality and safety of the food they consume.

Trace One conducted the proprietary research in May 2015 by surveying more than 1,100 consumers in the United States and the United Kingdom. In addition to examining perceptions on food safety and quality, the research also explored consumer buying behavior in relation to store brand products. The majority of respondents said they do buy store brand food products; only seven percent said that they do not. Interestingly, consumers with higher household incomes report buying store brand products more frequently than those with lower household incomes. In fact, nearly 83 percent of those in the US who have a household income of more than $100,000 reported that they buy store brands because they cost less than national brands.

“Consumers are demanding more information about the food products they purchase, but it’s clear that they still don’t trust the brands they buy from, as much as they should,” said Chris Morrison, CMO of Trace One. “Retailers need to validate their product ingredients and the origins of those ingredients, and consistently communicate that information throughout the supply chain and with consumers. If brands want shoppers to trust their products more, those brand owners must be armed with accurate and reliable product information that enables brand transparency, and ultimately builds consumer confidence and trust.”

Key findings of the “Consumer Food Safety and Quality” report include:

  • 93 percent of respondents buy store brands, 80 percent cited lower cost as the reason
  • 14 percent opt for “premium” store brands over “regular” store brands
  • Only 7 percent do not buy store brands at all; 36 percent named lower food quality and safety as a reason for that purchasing decision
  • Less than 7 percent trust the quality and safety of the food they consume
  • People with higher household incomes are more likely to buy store brand products
    • 21 percent of those who have a household income of more than $100,000 reported that they buy premium store brands; nearly one-quarter of those who have a household income of less than $50,000 reported that they buy economy store brands
    • Nearly 83 percent of those in the US who have a household income of more than $100,000 reported that they buy store brands because they cost less than national brands; meanwhile, only 54 percent of those in the UK who have a household income of more than £70,000 reported that they buy store brands because they cost less than national brands
  • The majority of respondents (91 percent) say it is important to them that they know where their food comes from
  • Only 13 percent believe they are “very knowledgeable” about where their food comes from
  • More than half of respondents say that they are not provided with enough information about what is in their food and where it comes from
  • 23 percent do not trust the information on food product brands, such as general ingredients, allergens, “consume by” dates and countries of origins
  • The majority of respondents said they feel that food manufacturers or retailers are responsible for store brand food quality and safety
    • In the US, consumers put slightly more onus on the manufacturers (62 percent) and government (16 percent)
    • In the UK, 52 percent said manufacturers, 37 percent said retailers and 11 percent said government
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