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A Snapshot of New Zealand results

FSANZ Consumer Attitudes Survey 2007

A Snapshot of New Zealand results

(For the full report click here

  1. Consumers ranked healthy eating fifth (24.9%) as a major concern below crime levels, household finances/cost of living, the health system and house prices when compared to a range of other current social issues. Food safety was ranked twelfth (6.5%).
  2. A large proportion (49%) of New Zealand consumers reported that they felt food safety generally had remained ‘about the same’ over the past year. Eleven precent thought food safety was ‘a little worse’ and 23% thought it was ‘a little better’ over the last year.
  3. Overall, 68% of New Zealanders were confident that the food supply as a whole was producing safe food for consumption.
  4. Thirty nine percent of consumers reported having concerns about the safety of particular types of foods. Raw chicken/poultry (37.4%), fresh fruit/vegetables (16.5%) and meat (unspecified) (14.7%) were the top three types of foods reported to be of concern.
  5. When presented with a list of general food issues that are commonly of concern, food poisoning such as salmonella and E. Coli (42.8%), obesity levels in the population (38%) and the amount of sugar in food were the top three issues of concern nominated by respondents.
  6. Almost one third of respondents (30.3%) thought they had had food poisoning in the last year. However, of that 30.3%, almost two thirds (62.4%) did not report their illness to anyone. Those that did report their illness most commonly reported it to their doctor, staff at the food outlet or person/household responsible for the food preparation.
  7. National/regional health departments/authorities (20%) were most commonly spontaneously mentioned, and the Ministry of Health (9%), and New Zealand Food Safety Authority (8%) were also spontaneously mentioned by New Zealand respondents as having a role in food regulation and monitoring. FSANZ was spontaneously mentioned by only 4% of New Zealand respondents, however, when prompted, awareness of FSANZ as having a role in food regulation and monitoring rose to 51.8%, while awareness of the Ministry of Health and the New Zealand Food Safety Authority rose to 81.7% and 60.4% respectively.
  8. Overall, 59% of respondents expressed confidence in the current measures taken by the organisations regulating and monitoring food. As would be expected given the low unprompted awareness of FSANZ in New Zealand, confidence in the work of FSANZ was less than that for all organisations regulating and monitoring food with 49% of New Zealand respondents indicating some degree of confidence.
  9. More respondents considered there should be a ‘high level of regulation’ to manage food safety (30%) compared with pubic health issues such as obesity (18%).
  10. A quarter (25%) of respondents who had a role in grocery shopping reported they ‘always’ referred to labelling information when purchasing a product for the first time. The best before/use by date (70.9%), the amount of fat (55.9%) and the amount of sugar (52.6%) were the top three types of information on a food label most commonly looked for.
  11. Respondents who had a role in grocery shopping identified labels on food packaging (80.7%), the internet (33%) and fact sheets/brochures (29.5%) as the top three sources of information on the nutritional content of foods.
  12. The majority of New Zealanders (70%) expressed confidence in their ability to make an informed decision from the information provided on food labels. Trust was at a lower level with 54% of consumers feeling they could trust the information provided on food labels.
  13. Most respondents (83%) reported some knowledge about food hygiene/food safety in the home, and most (84%) felt they had some control over food hygiene/food safety for food prepared at home. These high levels of knowledge and control translated into a very high level of overall confidence in food hygiene/food safety precautions at home, with 93% of respondents reporting confidence in this area.
  14. Sixty nine percent of respondents indicated overall confidence that food hygiene/food safety precautions were sufficient when eating out. Confidence was highest that the food hygiene/food safety precautions were sufficient in supermarkets/grocery stores, local bakeries and restaurants. Confidence was lowest for temporary food stalls/food vans, sausage sizzles/fetes/community events and takeaway/fast food outlets.

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