Date Published: 1 March 2006

UK Food Standards Agency 2005 survey reveals a more health-conscious consumer

The Food Standards Agency is today publishing its sixth UK-wide Consumer Attitudes to Food survey. The annual survey reveals that an increasing number of consumers say they are taking an active interest in their food and diet, with more people checking food labels and trying to eat more fruit and vegetables.

The 2005 survey highlights a number of diet and health trends that have emerged since 2000, these include:

  • A significant yearly increase in the number of consumers who are aware that we should eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables each day. An additional one-quarter of consumers are now aware that we should eat at least 5 portions compared to respondents in 20001.
  • An increase in the number of consumers who say they look at nutritional information on food labels, with an additional third of consumers saying they check food labels for the salt/sodium content2.
  • An increase in the number of consumers who claim to be eating more vegetables, salads and fruit compared to a year ago3.
  • An increase in the number of consumers claiming to never eat ready-made meals4.
  • An increase, from 2003, in the number of consumers who claim to prepare/cook a meal from raw ingredients at least once a day5.
  • An increase in the proportion of consumers claiming to sit down together for a main meal at least once a day6.

Gill Fine, Director of Consumer Choice and Dietary Health at the Food Standards Agency said:

" It's encouraging that the Agency's survey shows a growing awareness among consumers towards healthier eating. The rise in the number of people who say they are eating more fruit and veg, and checking their food labels shows a real shift in attitudes since the Agency first began these surveys in 2000.

_ It's also reassuring that consumers who are aware of the FSA, rate it as an organisation they feel they can trust and that there is a rise in the number in consumers who say they are confident in the role played by the FSA regarding food safety issues."

Along with tracking awareness of key food issues, the 2005 Consumer Attitudes survey also highlighted consumers' rising awareness of the FSA and its role in providing clear consumer advice. Figures of note include:

  • Consumer awareness of the FSA now stands at a new high after increasing steadily since 20007
  • A substantial increase, from 2001, in the number of consumers who believe the FSA is an organisation that they can trust8
  • A substantial increase, from 2000, in the number of consumers who described themselves as confident about the Agency's role in protecting health with regard to food safety9
  • A decrease in the number of consumers who feel that the FSA reflects the views of the food industry10
  • An increase in the number of consumers who are more likely to cite the FSA as an organisation that they would use for information compared with previous years11
  • A substantial increase in the number of consumers who believe that the FSA provides clear advice12
  • A decline in the number of consumers expressing concern over BSE13

The Consumer Attitudes Survey is conducted annually by the Food Standards Agency to provide a better understanding of attitudes, knowledge, behaviour, and awareness among the public with regards to food standards and safety. The first study, in 2000 (published January 2001) enabled benchmarks to be set, and each additional study allows the Agency to track changes in behaviour and attitude, and measure trends. TNS conducted over 3,000 interviews among a representative sample of the UK population. Interviews were conducted face-to-face in people's homes between 5 September and 16 October 2005.

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