Consumers and Food Safety in the U.S.: Implications for Marketers, Retailers and Foodservice

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Published Dec 23, 2015 | 98 Pages | Pub ID: LA5641956
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Consumers and Food Safety in the U.S.: Implications for Marketers, Retailers and Foodservice

Foodborne illness is a serious public health issue. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), each year, one out of every six Americans gets sick by consuming contaminated foods or beverages. Despite experts’ assertions that the nation’s food supply is safer than ever, new challenges to food safety have arisen in recent years, including more imported foods and more products being shipped longer distances, environmental changes leading to food contamination, and emerging strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Added to this is the veritable rabbit warren of Federal agencies overseeing food safety in the U.S., and the FDA’s new policy of using criminal sanctions to help ensure compliance under the Food Safety Modernization Act. At the same time, media reports of food poisonings seem to appear every week, with the trials and tribulations of two prominent U.S. food companies—ice cream manufacturer Blue Bell Creameries LP and fast-casual restaurant chain Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.—continuing to make headlines. The spill-over impact on consumer perceptions is profound: Nearly half (46%) of U.S. consumers say their level of concern over food safety has increased in the past few years, according to Packaged Facts’ November-December 2015 National Consumer Survey.

Packaged Facts’ Consumers and Food Safety in the U.S.: Implications for Marketers, Retailers and Foodservice report examines the forces impacting consumer perceptions of food safety, as well as the ways marketers, retailers and foodservice companies are responding to these concerns. This all-new report uses numerous case histories to illustrate how a wide array of food industry players have handled food safety issues as the problems developed and examines the aftermath, from food manufacturers such as the now-making-a-strong-comeback Blue Bell to restaurants including the still-under-fire Chipotle. Also discussed are historical cases that have shaped how both consumers and the food and beverage industry respond to food safety concerns.

An Overview chapter provides a breakdown of the Federal agencies involved in food safety, a discussion of the impact of the Food Safety and Modernization Act, a listing of the most common pathogens responsible for foodborne illnesses, and a perspective on food allergens. A Consumer chapter provides data from Packaged Facts’ proprietary national consumer surveys detailing consumer perspectives on food safety issues together with further context derived from reports and surveys from other organizations. A Case Histories chapter utilizes current and historical instances of food safety issues to shine a light on how a company’s handling of such crises can result in fallout ranging from promising to catastrophic.

Scope and Methodology

The report covers both current events that are unfolding, impacting the food safety landscape today, and past issues that have helped shape current policy and consumer perspective. The analysis concentrates largely on two major topics: The Federal government’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which will begin taking effect in September 2016; and contamination of foods with pathogens/outbreaks of foodborne illnesses, which have been making headline news since early 2015. Among other food safety issues are allergens; mislabeled products; illegal chemical residues; toxins naturally present in foods; and bioterrorism and food defense.

Consumers and Food Safety in the U.S. draws on a proprietary Packaged Facts National Consumer Survey conducted in November-December 2015 with a sample size of 2,000 U.S. adults age 18+. The sample composition is representative of the national population by gender, age bracket, geographic region, race/ethnicity, household income bracket, and presence of children in the household. In addition, the report draws on data from U.S. government agencies (such as the Centers for Disease Control, Food and Drug Administration, and U.S. Department of Agriculture); industry publications, websites and blogs; literature from individual food and beverage marketers, retailers and foodservice companies; and other Packaged Facts reports.

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