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Consumers do not read data on foodstuffs; these are unreadable for them and in addition, they cease to believe them

In comparison with the year 2005 the number of people who do not pay attention to data on food packaging, has risen. While then 49 % did not read them, today it is already 56 %. The most common reason stated by consumers for this kind of behaviour is that information on the packaging is unreadable and on the second place, that they are not interested in it. The satisfaction with adequacy and clarity of information on foodstuffs is still high, however, it also noted a decrease. The percentage of people believing that data on foodstuffs are truthful, dropped very significantly, from 77 % to 56 %.
These findings that resulted from the sociological survey carried out for the Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority by the agency Focus, Marketing&Social Research at the close of last year, only confirm the actual trend in the field of foodstuff supervision. „Cases of food safety violation are only exceptional today, much more often we have to face cases of consumer’s deception,” said Martin Klanica authorized to deputize for the CAFIA Director General. Producers keep inventing new ways how to catch the customer’s attention, therefore also many new claims attributing to foodstuffs special characteristics appear on foodstuff packaging. One can give the example of a more frequent labelling of nutrition values, nutrition or health claims. However, the basic guideline for determination of foodstuff quality still remains its composition. Therefore, it is necessary that consumers learn to read it. However, it has not been the case so far; even if consumers do read the data on packaging, they are mainly interested in use by dates or best before dates, country of origin, storage conditions and information on producer. „CAFIA pays constantly bigger attention to consumer’s deception. This is proved by numbers of controls in this field. Nonetheless, these survey results surprised us, surely we will react to them when planning our public education activities and globally when communicating with the public,” concluded Martin Klanica.
The above mentioned sociological survey also explored family habits of consumers when handling foodstuffs. Also in 2005, when this survey was carried out for the first time, the respondents answered questions concerning safe storage and preparation of food correctly. According to new results, basic safety habits reinforced even more: people consume perishable foodstuffs within a short period after the purchase, they also store them correctly in refrigerator, when manipulating with foodstuffs they follow rules of personal hygiene and use clean utensils, especially when handling fresh meat. Unlike last survey when 43% of respondents replied that they consumed fruits and vegetables, of which they had previously cut a mouldy or rotten part, now only 29% stated this fact. On the contrary, more people admitted that they refroze once unfrozen foodstuffs or they left purchased foodstuffs in a car for a longer time before storing them correctly at home.
The survey also confirmed that people more and more prefer one-off big purchases in large scale shops, whereas the popularity of discount shops has risen by 10 %. The price of foodstuffs still plays an important role at choice, 66 % of people look for action discounts and 77 % of respondents buy cut-price foodstuffs from time to time. Although people according to their answers prefer fresh unpacked foodstuffs, they like to buy in large amounts to have them in stock if they are for a good price. As in 2005, Czech consumers assess safety and quality of Czech foodstuffs better in comparison with the foreign ones. A number of people answering that safety and quality of foodstuffs enhanced in comparison with the situation ten years ago, also rose slightly.
Relating graphs and a presentation can be found in news on CAFIA webpages.

Author: Mgr. Martina Šmídtová - CAFIA spokesperson, phone : +420-542426633