Cases of food fraud such as the horse meat scandal most to blame
- Only 12% have confidence in the European food chain and 3% in the global food chain
- 74% of people believe there is an issue with food fraud in the UK
- 33% of consumers are less trusting of food than they once were
As Britain prepares to leave the European Union, research conducted in 2017 by commercial insurer NFU Mutual revealed that only 12% of people in Scotland have confidence in the European food chain and just 3% in the global chain, fewer than one in every ten people.
Almost three quarters (74%) believed there to be an issue with food fraud in the UK, with 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, was the most common cause of reduced confidence in nearly half of consumers (41%).
The NFU Mutual Food Fraud Report, also revealed that one-third of consumers across Scotland (33%) were less trusting of products and retailers than they were five years ago (research conducted in 2017), compared with only 8% whose trust had increased. A further 32% believed that food crime is likely to increase in the future.
Commenting on the report, 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 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.
“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.”
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 stock2.
Frank continued: “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 producers – likely to be popular with a majority of consumers who want to support local businesses on home soil. How British producers and retailers will be supported and enabled to deliver the quantity of food required and improve consumer confidence still 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 was 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 including the British Retail Consortium, Food and Drink Federation, British Hospitality Association and National Farmers Retail & Markets Association.
The study also found that in Scotland, takeaways were the least trusted type of food outlet (40%) followed by online (22%) and convenience stores (19%). The least trusted product types were processed foods (31%), red meat (24%), poultry, supplements and animal feed (15%).
Over two-thirds of people in Scotland (71%) regularly take measures to ensure their food is legitimate and 13% avoid certain foods altogether that they believe could be susceptible to fraud. Almost three-quarters of respondents though (72%) 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
For more information and advice on a range of NFU Mutual’s retail, food and drink manufacturing and hospitality services, find a local Agent by visiting www.nfumutual.co.uk/branches
Crowe Clarke Whitehill – Minimising Fraud and Maximising Value in the UK Food and Drink Sector – May 2017 https://www.croweclarkwhitehill.co.uk/uk-food-drink-companies-losing-12-billion-annually-fraud/
Food Standards Agency Food Crime Assessment 2016 – https://www.food.gov.uk/sites/default/files/fsa-food-crime-assessment-2016.pdf
About the NFU Mutual Food Fraud Report
Using research agency ICM Unlimited in June 2017, and using a demographically representative split across Great Britain, the NFU Mutual study surveyed 2027 people.
The report is available at www.nfumutual.co.uk/foodfraud
For further information, the official infographic, images, or to retrieve a copy of the full PDF report please contact the NFU Mutual press team.
NFU Mutual press team contact details:
Jade Devlin | 01789 455165 | Jade_Devlin@nfumutual.co.uk
Spokespeople available for interview:
Frank Woods – Frank Woods is retail and wholesale specialist at NFU Mutual, with 30 years experience in commercial insurance. Frank is able to speak about a wide range of topical and marketplace issues facing the retail and wholesale sectors, from the impact of changing consumer buying habits to the challenges and opportunities that e-commerce present.
Darren Seward – Darren Seward is hospitality and food and drink specialist at NFU Mutual, with 31 years experience in commercial insurance. Darren is able to speak about a wide range of topical and marketplace issues facing the hospitality and food and drink sectors in evolving and growing industries.
Notes to editor:
Our ISDN line for radio interviews is: 01789 205347
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About NFU Mutual:
NFU Mutual offers a wide range of products, including general and commercial insurance, business insurance, life insurance, pensions, and investments. These products and services are delivered through the agency network of over 300 offices in locations across Great Britain, as well as through a direct sales and service centre.