Chinese consumers increasingly concerned about food safety30 Nov 2020
Food safety is of growing concern for Chinese consumers and many do not fully trust on-pack claims such as organic. Supply chain certification is one way to win back trust, according to Lloyd’s Register.
A recent survey carried out by Lloyd’s Register, a certification body that conducts audits of Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) benchmarked standards, found that food safety and hygiene matters are a greater source of worry to Chinese consumers than before. Eighty-seven percent of individuals surveyed said they were more concerned about food safety now compared to one year ago while 76% have changed their eating or purchasing habits in the last 12 months due to a food safety scare.
The biggest cause for concern was the use of artificial colours and flavours, which worried 78% of those questioned, while 56% were worried about finding foreign objects, such as metal or plastic, in a food or drink product – a high proportion of consumers that should ring alarm bells for the food supply chain, said the report authors.
Supermarkets also appear to be under more scrutiny from the public, with 90% of Chinese adults saying they expected to know the precise ingredients of all food products sold in supermarkets, compared to only 58.1% of Americans and 71.8% of Britons.
Nevertheless, the survey, which questioned over 1,000 consumers from across the country, also found high levels of doubt regarding on-pack claims. Eighty-seven percent said they were not fully confident that products labelled as organic are truly grown or reared using organic farming methods.
“It’s important to note that products can be labelled as ‘organic’ with or without certification. It also cannot be definitively said whether the consumer differentiates ‘labelled’ from ‘certified’,” Kimberly Carey Coffin, global technical director for supply chain assurance at Lloyd’s Register, told The Ingredients Network.
“However, most countries have labelling laws in place which mandate that producers hold a method of verification, and retain evidence, that can substantiate product claims, such as organic. Likewise, regulatory frameworks exist defining the requirements for the safe production of food and increasingly food safety certification is being recognised by many governments as a key verification mechanism. As such, certification is the primary way for companies to do this.
According to Carey Coffin, manufacturers should understand their own supply chains to reduce food safety risks.
“In addition to ensuring their own manufacturing sites adhere to best practice, those manufacturers who gain a clear understanding of their supply chain’s weak points and use technical expertise and intervention to mitigate risk, will find themselves well placed to avoid unwanted incidents […] and in turn help reassure consumers.”
No fear of wet markets
Although the exact origin of the COVID-19 virus remains unknown, scientific evidence suggests the source of transmission occurred at a wet market in Wuhan, where bats and wild animals were kept in close contact and sold for meat. Despite this, the vast majority of Chinese consumers surveyed by Lloyd’s Register (92%) said they would continue to buy groceries at wet markets in the coming year.
This was not surprising to Carey Coffin.
“Wet markets have historically been – and will continue to be – the foundation of food retail in Chinese culture. Seeing and feeling the products is seen to provide assurances that meat, fish, poultry, fruit and vegetables, and spices are fresh, unprocessed and from the direct source or origin. This is unlikely to change as they also allow greater choice when it comes to the size, cut, and quantity of produce.”
In order to prevent future health pandemics, scientists have called for a ban on the sale of exotic animals at wet markets as well as more research into the link between illicit trade and zoonotic disease transmission.
Cocoa fruit juice: The next big beverage ingredient?
9 Nov 2020
Cocoa fruit juice has a refreshingly sweet and sour flavour with tropical notes of lychee and peach, making it ideal for premium-positioned drinks, says Ghanaian-Swiss supplier Koa.Read more
Confidence in Europe’s CBD market high despite regulatory barriers
2 Nov 2020
Despite regulatory uncertainty, small start-ups and big businesses alike are confident about Europe’s CBD market. “Local brands [have] a great opportunity to shine,” says one company.Read more
French dairy giant Bel to launch plant-based cheese
22 Oct 2020
French dairy group Bel will launch a plant-based Boursin in the US next year as it develops vegan versions of its core brands, which include Babybel and The Laughing Cow.Read more
Can indoor vertical farming solve the Gulf’s food security challenge?
18 Oct 2020
Recent investments in vertical farms could make Gulf countries less reliant on food imports, say the companies involved.Read more
Brazilian draft law limits food colourings to ‘smallest quantities’ possible
10 Oct 2020
A Brazilian lawmaker is pushing for manufacturers to use the smallest quantities possible of food colourings for health reasons.Read more
Two Mexican states ban junk food sales to children: A taste of things to come?
28 Sep 2020
Two Mexican states have moved to ban the sale of junk food to children and a national ban may be on the cards, according to one expert. Could this be a taste of future food policy around the world?Read more
China’s self-heating trend heats up ready meal category
21 Sep 2020
Self-heating ready meals are experiencing a boom in China, catering to the country’s ‘lazy economy’, and Mintel estimates its market value will double in coming years.Read more
Spike in counterfeit goods could damage ‘Make in India’ initiative, warns report
14 Sep 2020
Counterfeit products are rising in India and fast-moving consumer goods, including food, is in the top three worst-hit sectors. Greater traceability is needed to safeguard the national ‘Make in India’ initiative, says an industry report.Read more
Finding opportunities in Vietnam’s changing retail landscape
7 Sep 2020
Minimarkets, specialist stores and e-commerce platforms are leading retail growth in Vietnam, providing new opportunities for brands to boost sales, according to Kantar Worldpanel.Read more
Beware of ‘woke washing’: Ethical branding must reflect an ethical business
31 Aug 2020
Spanish chocolate manufacturer Lacasa is under pressure to change the name and logo of its Conguitos brand with a consumer-led petition - but experts warn against empty ‘cause marketing’.Read more
Are you a supplier?
Here's what we can do for you
- Generate quality leads for your business
- Stay visible for 365 days of the year
- Receive product inquiries and respond to meeting requests directly
- Improve company online presence through Search Engine Optimisation