Only 28% of U.S. consumers say they are confident in the safety of the food they eat. That's according to a new survey of 2,000 U.S. consumers conducted by the Center for Food Integrity. CFI released survey results at the 2012 Food Integrity Summit held in Chicago this week.
The 28% figure was 7% lower than last year's survey result, says Charlie Arnot, CEO at CFI.
In addition, only 30% of consumers said they were as confident in the safety of the food they eat compared to a year ago; that figure was 35% last year. Only 18% said they believed today's food supply is safer than when they grew up.
Consumers also lost confidence in government agencies. According to the survey, only 18% say they believe government food safety agencies are doing a good job ensuring the safety of their food. That figure was 21% a year earlier.
In addition, 45% of consumers say they trust food produced in the U.S more than food produced outside the U.S. Just over one fourth of those surveyed said they did not care where their food was produced as long as it is affordable, safe and wholesome.
When asked about food issues in general, 58% of consumers said their greatest concern was safety. Just over half were concerned there would be enough food to feed the country. Half were worried about crop chemical residue on food, while 44% said they were concerned about humane treatment of farm animals.
American consumers were least concerned – 29% - over having enough food to feed people in developing countries, a figure consistent with earlier surveys.
Where do people go for food info? In the CFI survey, 26% named family and friends their first source for information. Another 25% said websites, especially for early adopter consumers. Local television stations were ranked third, at 20%.
When consumers become concerned about food safety or intensive farming practices, what action do they take? According to the survey, 45% search for more info online, or talk with friends and family (44%). They also look online at independent expert websites (38%) or check traditional news media websites (37%).