Trust in supermarket food is slipping

April 2, 2009

According to The NPD Group’s Food Safety Monitor survey, the number of Americans who feel that foods in supermarkets are safe is slipping. In 2007 and 2008, 63% of Americans agreed with the statement that foods sold in supermarkets are safe, compared with 68% who agreed with the statement in 2004. Some of their top concerns are Salmonella, E. coli, trans fatty acids, mercury in fish/seafood, high fructose corn syrup, artificial growth hormones in milk, and genetically modified foods.

Additionally, the survey shows that consumers are more concerned about the safety of food in restaurants than food available from supermarkets; however, feelings about food safety in restaurants have remained steady over the years. The percentage of consumers who feel that foods served at restaurants are safe has remained, on average, between 48% and 49% since 2004.

“I believe that consumers’ slipping confidence in the safety of supermarket food is less about food safety and more about supermarkets expanding foodservice operations and offering more prepared, ready-to-eat foods,” said Harry Balzer, Chief Industry Analyst and Vice President at NPD. “More food handling issues and concerns come into play when foods are prepared for you. Consumers are now extending the concerns they have about the safety of foods served at restaurants to supermarkets.”