According a survey conducted by IBM, fewer than 20% of adult grocery shoppers indicate that they trust food companies to develop and sell food products that are safe and healthy.
IBM's businesses include providing solutions for tracing food through the supply chain. Results of the survey, fielded by Survey Sampling International, are based on responses from 1,000 randomly selected adults from the country's 10 largest cities (100 responses per city) who grocery shop at least once per month. The sample was drawn from SSI's managed online panels. The results have a 3.1-point margin of error overall (95% confidence level). IBM was not identified as the study's sponsor.
Slightly more than half (55%) of respondents said that they trust food manufacturers when handling a recall precipitated by possible contamination of a product -- a "marked" decrease (from 64%) in their level of trust over the past two years, when the previous study was done, according to IBM.
However, nearly three-quarters (72%) said they trust the store where they buy groceries to properly handle food product contamination recalls.
Over the past two years, 60% of consumers say that they are increasingly concerned about the safety of food products they purchase.
Well over half (57%) report that they have stopped purchasing certain foods for at least a short time within the past two years due to safety considerations, and 49% say they would be unwilling to purchase a food product again that had been recalled due to contamination.
More than two-thirds (83%) were able to name a food product that was recalled in the past two years, with peanut butter having by far the highest recognition (46%). Spinach came in a distant second, with only 15% awareness.
Also, 63% say they have become more knowledgeable about the contents of food they buy, 77% say they want more information about the content of the food products they purchase, and 76% say they would like more information about its origin.
Nearly three-quarters (74%) say they are willing to dig deeper and seek more data about how food products are grown, processed and manufactured. Consumers also said they are spending more time reading food labels to know which ingredients were used and questioning supermarkets and product manufacturers about product detail, and that they are paying closer attention to expiration dates and doing more in-depth background checks on specific food brands and their origin.
Finally, the survey found that 63% of respondents report having changed their grocery shopping behavior within the past two years because they wanted better value for their money, 45% because they wanted access to fresher foods, and 43% because they wanted access to better-quality foods.