Food fraud report lays bare waning consumer confidence

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A new report has found that food confidence in the UK is waning, with food fraud cases such as the horse meat scandal shouldering the blade.

The Food Fraud Report 2017 from NFU Mutual revealed that only 12% of people have confidence in the European food chain and just 7% in the global chain.

Almost three quarters believe there to be an issue with food fraud in the UK, with over a quarter also believing that they have personally experienced it.

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.

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 skilled workers and quality.”

The UK food and drink industry could be losing up to £12 billion annually to fraud, entering the food chain through means such as falsified or inaccurate documentation, and redirection of waste products back into the supply chain.

Mr Steward added: “Improving communication may be the answer as customers are increasingly demanding transparency and accessibility to food ingredients, nutritional and provenance information to inform their purchase decisions, and hospitality businesses should focus on delivering this information to stay current and catch up with retailers and producers.

“Much of the food industry is addressing any damage to confidence by changing supply strategies and supporting British producers – popular with consumers who want to support local businesses on home soil.”

The report includes viewpoints and advice from major industry bodies including the British Hospitality Association, British Retail Consortium, Food and Drink Federation, and National Farmers Retail & Markets Association.