Over a quarter of shoppers say they are “not confident at all” that food labelled as organic has been produced under organic farming methods, a new survey has found.
While shoppers do have more ethical considerations when shopping, there is a “deep suspicion” over the labelling of ethical products. The results were of a poll of 1,000 online shoppers, carried out by research agency Lloyd’s Register for its Food Trends report.
Almost two thirds (61 per cent) of those asked said they were “fairly confident” that the organic label was accurate, 26.9 per cent said they were “not confident at all” and 11.8 per cent said they were “very confident”.
As well as distrust of the organic label, one in five UK consumers declared themselves to be “not confident at all” or “very suspicious” about claims that vegan products do not contain meat.
“Our research has found that there is a deep suspicion on the part of shoppers regarding ethical food products. In an industry built on trust, this signals that this trust is under threat,” the report stated. “This will mean that certification bodies will need to increase their efforts to educate consumers on the role of certification and what the logo represents.”
A spokesperson for the Soil Association, the UK’s largest certifier of organic food, said: “The use of the word ‘organic’ on food or drink products is protected by EU law.
“When a product is labelled as organic, every step in the supply chain is independently inspected and certified by an approved body. This means that consumers can be confident that when they see an organic logo on pack, such as the green EU leaf or the Soil Association symbol, they are buying a truly organic product that has been produced in a sustainable, nature-friendly way to the highest standards.”
Food provenance is also a key point of interest for shoppers, the survey found, with almost two thirds (63 per cent) saying they check the country of origin of their food products. Food safety concerns, around outbreaks of things like listeria or other food borne illnesses, is also on the rise, with a third of those asked saying they are more concerned than they were a year ago.