Chinese food safety concerns intensify

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By Mike Stones, 19-Dec-2008

Chinese consumers are even more concerned about food safety than their UK or US counterparts, according to a new report from The IBM Institute for Business Value.

Its report, Full Value Traceability reveals that 84 per cent of Chinese consumers reported growing of concerns about food safety over the past two years compared with 50 per cent of US consumers and 47 per cent of UK consumers.

The recent escalation of food and product contaminations and recalls originating from China as well as confusion over marketing claims has eroded trust in consumer product,” says the report.

Its survey of 300 consumers across the country, after the melamine scandal, identified that in the event of product recalls, nearly 60 per cent of Chinese consumers distrusted the information provided by retailers while 65 per cent do not trust manufacturers’ advice.

Educated consumers

Growing disposable income in China and increased product choice are fuelling a trend towards more educated consumers who are increasingly aware of food safety and who are prepared to pay premium prices for quality products. For example, 65 per cent of Chinese consumers are willing to pay more for environmentally sustainable food, according to the report.

Rebuilding the credibility of food safety standards and the assurance schemes that underpin them hold the key to restoring consumers’ confidence, says the report.

In order to restore domestic and international consumer confidence and re-establish brand image….companies operating in China must deliver credible product information through a transparent system.

Traceability system

We believe that Full Value Traceability is the way to collect and communicate transparent and trustworthy information about a product from farm to fork and ensure food and product safety and reliability,” it continues.

“We envision a traceability system that provides CP companies with the ability to trace the ownership and characteristics of ingredients or source components, packaging and products through all stages of production, processing and distribution.”

Meanwhile, Chinese, US and UK consumers shared a desire for more information about the origin of food products. 65 per cent of Chinese consumers wanted to know more about where their food comes from compared to 68 per cent of US and UK consumers.



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