Food Fraud Report reveals UK food confidence is declining, with cases of food fraud such as the horse meat scandal most to blame
• Only 12% have confidence in the European food chain and 7% in the global food chain
• 72% of people believe there is an issue with food fraud in the UK
• Takeaways seen as least trusted food outlet for 42% of people
NFU Mutual’s Food Fraud Report 2017, published today (7th September), reveals that takeaways are the least trusted type of food outlet (42%) followed by online (21%) and convenience stores (16%).
As Britain prepares to leave the European Union, the new research by the hospitality business insurer reveals that only 12% of people have confidence in the European food chain and just 7% in the global chain, fewer than one in every ten people. One third of consumers (33%) are less trusting of products and retailers than they were five years ago, compared with only 9% whose trust has increased, and a further 33% believe that food crime is likely to increase in the future.
Almost three quarters (72%) believe there to be an issue with food fraud in the UK, with over a quarter also believing that they have personally experienced it (27%).
Hearing about high profile cases of fraudulent food in the media, such as the horse meat scandal in 2013, is the most common cause of reduced confidence in nearly half of consumers (46%).
Commenting on the report, Darren Seward, Hospitality Sector Specialist at NFU Mutual, said: “There has never been a more important time for tackling food fraud and getting regulation right as we plan to leave the European Union, 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.
“Margins made by hospitality and catering businesses are being impacted as producers are put under pressure to offset price rises caused by the weakened value of sterling and higher import charges. The squeezing of already tight budgets and resources may potentially corner producers and hospitality businesses into using cheaper global suppliers that may be more vulnerable to fraud.”
The UK food and drink industry could be losing up to £12bn annually to fraud1, entering the food chain through means including falsified or inaccurate documentation, and redirection of waste products back into the supply chain or re-dating of stock.
Darren continued: “Our research exposes the damaging effect that various influencers have had on consumer confidence over time and takeaways seem to have the most work to do to improve that trust. Much of the food industry is addressing any damage to confidence by changing supply strategies and supporting British producers - likely to be popular with a majority of consumers who want to support local businesses on home soil as shown in our research. How British businesses will be supported and enabled to deliver the quantity of food required and improve consumer confidence remains to be seen.
“Our Food Fraud Report provides businesses with the research findings alongside advice from NFU Mutual experts and partners to help them combat fraud and appeal to customers through transparency and trust.”
The NFU Mutual Food Fraud report, which is designed to understand challenges facing businesses working across the ‘field to fork’ supply chain, explores attitudes and influencers of trust, perceived blame, impact upon behaviour and awareness of food crime. The report includes viewpoints and advice from major industry bodies the British Hospitality Association, British Retail Consortium, Food and Drink Federation, and National Farmers Retail & Markets Association.
One third of consumers (33%) are less trusting of products and retailers than they were five years ago, compared with only 9% whose trust has increased. A further 33% believe that food crime is likely to increase in the future.
Additionally, over two thirds of people (70%) regularly take measures to ensure their food is legitimate and 17% avoid certain foods altogether that they believe could be susceptible to fraud. Four out of five respondents though (77%) said that they would not know how to spot a counterfeit product.
To download a free PDF copy of the full report, visit www.nfumutual.co.uk/foodfraud