The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)’s Eurobarometer on food safety has generated new insights on food safety perceptions from five countries that had not previously participated.
In addition to data garnered from 28 EU Member States last year, the added countries are Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Turkey. These are known as pre-accession countries—they are in the process of integrating EU legislation into their national law.
This Special Eurobarometer study, commissioned by EFSA in 2019, examined:
- Europeans’ overall interest in food safety, including factors affecting food-related decisions, main information channels on food-related risks, changes in behavior and views on the complexity of communication about food-related risks.
- Awareness and risk perceptions when it comes to food safety topics, trust in different sources of information and understanding of the EU food safety system
Some 27,655 respondents from different social and demographic groups were interviewed face-to-face at home in their mother tongue. A few months later, the same study was then replicated in the five pre-accession countries.
A few of the questions and responses included the following:
Respondents were asked whether they ‘are personally interested in the topic of food safety’. Across the EU as a whole, 41 percent of respondents say that they are personally interested in food safety, although this varies considerably by country. In seven Member States, an absolute majority of respondents agree that they are personally interested, most notably Cyprus (65 percent), Finland (64 percent), and Luxembourg and France (both 60 percent). However, respondents are much less likely to agree in Italy (17 percent), Hungary (26 percent), and Czechia (27 percent).
Respondents were asked to specify the importance of factors when they buy food. They were able to give up to three answers from a list of six items. Four items are each chosen by around half of respondents when considering important factors when buying food: where the food comes from (53 percent), cost (51 percent), food safety (50 percent), and taste (49 percent). A slightly lower proportion say that nutrient content is important (44 percent), while respondents are least likely to mention ethics and beliefs as an important factor (19 percent).
The EU study was carried out by the Kantar Network, a research, data, and insight consulting firm based in London. See the entire 104-pages of survey results at EFSA.Europa.eu.