March 30th, 2009

Check Out Line: Supermarket food vs. restaurant fare

Source of Article:


Posted by: Aarthi Sivaraman

Check Out Americans’ dwindling faith in supermarket food.

A higher percentage of people doubted the safety of supermarket food in 2008 compared to 2004, even as a larger, but steadier, number continue to have qualms about what they eat at restaurants, according to a study by market research firm NPD Group.

The study’s results come as U.S. consumers cut back on restaurant visits and head to stores to buy items toward cooking more meals at homes to save money.

As supermarkets offer more prepared meals to cater to such cash-strapped consumers, they also face more questions about how the food was handled until it was served up, said Harry Balzer, chief industry analyst at NPD.

In 2008, 63 percent of Americans felt that supermarket foods were safe — same as 2007, but a 5 percent drop from 2004.  In contrast, while only 48 percent of those surveyed in 2008 agreed that restaurant fare was safe, that was only 1 percent below 2004.

“I believe that consumers’ slipping confidence in the safety of supermarket food is less about food safety and more about supermarkets expanding food service operations and offering more prepared, ready-to-eat foods,” Balzer said.

Consumers’ top worries – Salmonella and E. Coli. Eighty percent of the roughly 13,000 adults surveyed put those two as their top safety concerns in 2008.



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