Consumers trust activists, grocers, more than government

February 3, 2008

A recent survey conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Media and commissioned by Morgan & Myers and The Wordcom Group, revealed that when it comes to providing information about food choices, U.S. consumers have greater faith in activists and retail grocers than either government or food companies.

Results from the national poll confirm that about two-thirds of consumers (64%) say advocates and activist groups have consumers’ best interests in mind when it comes to providing information about food choices. Those feelings were even more pronounced among what GfK calls “Influentials,” potential thought leaders identified in the survey. Nearly three out of four (74%) of Influentials feel advocates and activists have consumers’ best interests in mind.

Retail grocers also ranked highly (62%) and food manufacturers ranked third (53%). The U.S. government ranked fourth (47%), ahead only of fast-food companies (26%).

Confidence that the U.S. government has adequate regulations to assure the safety of food ranked fifth out of six categories. Only half (50%) of consumers are confident in the adequacy of food safety regulations, ranking well below automobiles (83%), consumer electronics (80%) and clothing (77%), and slightly below pharmaceuticals (51%). The only category food safety ranked above was toys (37%).

Ground beef and toys were subjects of highly publicized recalls in the past year. Only 46% of Americans feel the government has adequate food-safety regulations for meat (beef, pork and poultry), and 48% for seafood.

“Confidence in food safety and the food supply are important for Americans to ensure a healthy and balanced diet. When people lack confidence, they eliminate entire classes of food from their diets, which may prevent them from getting a varied diet that contributes to overall health and wellness,” Beth Witherspoon, MPH, RD, public relations counselor, with Morgan&Myers.

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