Emerging consumer trends - challenges for food safety. Professor Lynn Frewer Food Safety and Consumer Behaviour University of Wageningen, The Netherlands Lynn.Frewer@wur.nl http://www.mcb.wur.nl/UK/Staff/Faculty/Frewer/. Consumers and food safety.
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Emerging consumer trends - challenges for food safety Professor Lynn Frewer Food Safety and Consumer Behaviour University of Wageningen, The Netherlands Lynn.Frewer@wur.nl http://www.mcb.wur.nl/UK/Staff/Faculty/Frewer/
Consumers and food safety • Various consumer and societal trends can be identified. • These are not necessarily independent of one- another....
Consumer health Affluent countries face a pandemic of obesity • Healthy foods • Optimal taste • Functional foods and ingredients • Lifestyle-related illnesses increasing in emerging economies Food shortages in many parts of the world, despite the “green revolution”
Demand on Agricultural Production Growing Much More Rapidly Than Population Rate of increase Source. Professor Bruce Babcock, Iowa State University
Emerging zoonotic risks • Increased demand for animal proteins • Increased demand on intensive production systems? • Emergence of new zoonotic diseases? (cf. BSE) • Unless effective early identification systems identified, negative impact on consumer confidence in global governance
Food Safety – consumers demand safe foods • Smart packaging • Microbial contamination • Pathogen detection • Concerns about emerging diseases • Climate change • Lengthening food chains • Mycotoxins • Emerging Zoonoses Consumers are not willing to pay more for “safer” foods
Dioxin crisis in Belgium (1999) • January 1999a storage tank of fat at the processing plant of Verkest, Belgian animal feed producer is contaminated with industrial oil containing dioxin • February 1999animal producer Da Brabender notices nervous system problems in its mother hens and hatching failures in their eggs • March 1999Da Brabender send a feed sample to a Dutch laboratory for analysis. The ministry of agriculture is alerted • April 1999lab results positive. government takes discrete action to isolate the supply chain involving Verkest • May 1999tests reveal high levels of dioxin throughout the supply chain • 29 May 1999: the story hits the news
Dioxin crisis Belgian dioxin crisis 1999Exports: sensitive Belgian beef and poultry exports (metric tons) (Data source: UN, COMTRADE database)
Mozzarella is made near Naples in Italy from buffalo milk. • Rubbish collection in Naples problematic • Burning rubbish releases dioxins • Animals not tested for disease.
Italy recalls tainted mozzarella The Italian government has recalled from sale the mozzarella cheese linked to dioxin contamination. BBC, March 2008
Sustainability • More efficient production • Reduced consumer wastage • Environmental protection • The “biofuels” crisis • Implications for food availability • Less food in supply, less safe food will be included in the supply chain
“The other global crisis: rush to biofuels is driving up price of food” Independent, 12 APRIL 2008 EU set to scrap biofuels target amid fears of food crisis Guardian Unlimited April 2008 Go easy on biofuels until more clarity: World Bank Bangladesh independent, May 2008 Crop switch worsens global food price crisis Guardian, April 5th, 2008 UN urges biofuel investment halt BBC, 2 May 2008 Biofuels: They Could Lead To A Future Water Crisis? The Daily Reckoning Aug, 2007
Global Water Shortages • Water becomes scarce • Implications for consumer behaviour? • Hand / produce washing • Drinking water less safe • Implications for consumer health / food production and preparation
Tracking and tracing Globalization results in lengthening food chains Consumers want improved choice • Introduction of allergenic ingredients (e.g. tree nut, shrimp) - Where are these ingredients in longer and more complex food chains? • Production processes (GMOs, nanotechnology, organic production) • Food quality (e.g. country of origin)
Focus group results: communication methods • Consumer Rejection of new traceability methods • Information is not directly available to consumer (bar-coding, RFID) • Unhygienic, loss of naturalness of product (label, laser printing) • “you don’t want to eat that, it is unappetizing”; “unnatural” • Unwilling to pay for associated costs Giraurd et al, in preparation
Traceability and food Safety (FOCUS GROUP RESULTS) • Consumers prefer shorter food chains • Determinants of product safety • Hygiene • Storage conditions • Product origin • Producers and retailers responsible for • Safety throughout the food chain • Information provision • Consumers were positive about product recalls should a contamination incident occur. • Effective implementation of safety monitoring systems • Producer acknowledgement of consumer concerns Kher et al, in preparation ΣCHAIN
Some additional (segmented) consumer trends Consumer demand for free range meat production • Increased contamination (e.g. Salmonella on pork in the UK) • Avian influenza in free range poultry
Changing demographics Changing demographics • E.g. Europe • More people living in single person households implies increased demand for convenience (chilled foods • Ageing population with increased vulnerability
Clusters of Consumers and self protective behaviour – domestic food safety Low risk I: Traditional family II: Average Family (traditional) Results of hierarchical cluster analysis on Rasch data III: Average Family IV: Average Family (modern) High risk V: Single Male (Fischer, Frewer and Nauta, 2007, Risk Analysis)
Differences in expert and lay perceptions of effective risk management –A continuing trend
Consumers & Experts: A Perceptual Divide Consumers Experts Consumer Awareness Consumers not willing to seek information Poor quality of information Adequate FRM and happy consumers FRMEfforts Continuing problems FRMPriorities More acceptance of economic interests Less acceptance of economic interests Emphasise consumer protection Emphasise state and industry Responsibility Negative view - create public anxiety Positive view Media Not acknowledged by all institutions Inherent in science Uncertainty Krystallis et al, 2007, Health, Risk & Society
Consumer attitudes to emerging technologies applied to food production and food safety • Do the potential technological solutions create more problems in terms of consumer acceptance? • e.g. ambivalent consumer attitudes to food irradiation in some regions of the world
2 1.5 1 0.5 Prior Attitude (centered 95% ci) 0 -0.5 -1 -1.5 -2 GM Organic Nanotech Conventional Risk-Experiment: Prior Attitudes Four technologies selected based on existing consumer attitude Positive Negative Van Dijk et al, in preparation
Developing international consumer and stakeholder confidence • Risk governance • (Early) risk identification • Common research agenda • International risk communication as soon as a hazard has been identified • Equitable stakeholder and consumer participation in the process of risk analysis / risk governance
Conclusions • Consumer trends • Safety (always a priority) • Quality demands • Changes in food preferences • Enhanced traceability • Sustainability versus food security • Technology in food production? • Targeted risk communication to vulnerable populations • International risk governance
Thank you! Any questions?
…………..and uncertain risks …. “Long –chain fatty omega -3 fatty acids found in fatty fish and fish oils do not have a clear effect on total mortality, combined vascular events, or cancer” Hooper et al, British Medical Journal, March 2006 • Implications for ingredient labelling and health claims
Communicating with consumers aboutvariable risks …. “Although a rich source of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) that may confer multiple health benefits, some fish contain methyl mercury (MeHg), which may harm the developing fetus. U.S. government recommendations for women of childbearing age are to modify consumption of high-MeHg fish, while recommendations encourage fish consumption among the general population because of nutritional benefits” Cohen et al, Am J Prev Med. 2005 Nov;29(4):325-34.
Integrated Risk-Benefit measures are being introduced into food safety legislation Life expectancy changes Qalys - Quality adjusted life year “a year of life adjusted for its quality or its value”. A year in perfect health is considered equal to 1.0 QALY. The value of a year in ill health would be discounted Dalys - Disability Adjusted Life YearsThe sum of years of potential life lost due to prematuremortality and the years of productive life lost due to disability
Consumer views - three measures for describing the net health impact of both risks and benefits .