Consumer Food Safety and Quality” Research

Grocery ShopperPrivate brand product lifecycle management (PLM) firm Trace One announced this week 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% wholeheartedly trust the quality and safety of the food they consume.

Trace One conducted the 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% 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% 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% of respondents buy store brands, 80% cited lower cost as the reason
  • 14% opt for “premium” store brands over “regular” store brands
  • Only 7% do not buy store brands at all; 36% named lower food quality and safety as a reason for that purchasing decision
  • Less than 7% trust the quality and safety of the food they consume
  • People with higher household incomes are more likely to buy store brand products
  • 21% 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% 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% 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%) say it is important to them that they know where their food comes from
  • Only 13% 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% 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%) and government (16%)
  • In the UK, 52% said manufacturers, 37% said retailers and 11% said government


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Christopher Durham

Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan).

Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s.
Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago.

Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.