Action needed to win back our trust in foodGovernment must develop a new food strategy

26 April 2013

Supermarket shopping

Our new report, The Future of Food, sets out recommendations to help protect consumer interests and make it easier for us to make well-informed food choices. Our debate has uncovered consumers' top food priorities.

Last year, Which? launched a national debate on the future of food to gain a deeper understanding of our views on food issues. A combination of citizens' juries, travelling video booths and a survey highlighted views on food prices and choice, sustainability and production.

Shaken by horsemeat scandal

Our research highlighted that people want clearer information. Six in 10 people wanted more information on the quality of ingredients used and food safety standards. And more than half of people wanted to know where the food was produced.

Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said: 'In the wake of the horsemeat scandal, people want more information, including simple and honest labelling, so that they can be confident of what they are buying.'

Food budgets under pressure

The cost of food has increased by 12% over the past five years and two-thirds say food prices have become more important in the current economic climate. Roughly a third of people felt that quality and taste were now more important.

Overall, people wanted the government to take a much stronger lead, developing a clear action plan to deal with the problems across the food chain.

Putting shoppers first

Mr Lloyd added: 'Food issues are currently dealt with in a fragmented way, with no sense of direction or priorities. A much clearer government vision and strategy is needed - one that is joined-up, consumer-focused and makes it clear that fraud and mislabelling will not be tolerated.'

Which? is calling for a new approach to how food issues are handled to give consumer interests much greater priority, based on:

1. Strong government leadership and a clear food strategy
2. Effective consumer engagement on food issues
3. A more consumer-focused Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and a stronger Food Standards Agency (FSA)
4. A greater government focus on clear pricing and long-term affordability
5. Enabling consumers to make healthy, sustainable and informed choices

Which? is currently campaigning for clearer unit pricing, so products can be easily compared. Support our 'Price it Right' campaign by signing our pledge.

Resources

More on this…

  • Read the Future of Food report
  • Sign our pledge for clearer unit pricing
  • Join the food priorities debate on Which? Conversation