‘Food and You’ survey published by Food Standards Agency

The Food and You consumer survey (wave five) https://www.food.gov.uk/research/food-and-you/food-and-you-wave-five has just been published by the Food Standards Agency (FSA.) The survey collects information about the public's reported behaviours, attitudes and knowledge relating to food safety and food issues.  This involves food purchasing, storage, preparation, consumption and factors that may affect these.  

It is published every two years. This report is wave five (2018), and consisted of 2,241 interviews across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The latest report indicates an increase in mini supermarket shopping and supermarket home delivery, the increasing recognition of Food hygiene ratings and the importance of good service as part of the decision-making on where to eat out.

Main findings 

Key findings for the wave five combined England, Wales and NI report: 

  • Shopping habits: Since 2012, buying from mini supermarkets has increased from 35% to 43%, and supermarket home delivery has increased from 10% to 17% 
  • Food hygiene ratings for food businesses (FHRS): The majority of respondents (87%) reported having seen the FHRS sticker. There have been increasing levels of recognition of the scheme stickers since they were introduced in 2010, from 34% in 2012, to 68% in 2014, 83% in 2016 and 87% in 2018.  
    Around three in five respondents mentioned good service (61%), a good hygiene rating score (60%) and the price of food (60%) as important in their decisions about where to eat out.  
  • Food poisoning: 47% of respondents reported that they had experienced food poisoning at some time in their lives, an increase from between 40% and 41% in 2012 and 2014 and 44% in 2016.
  • Hygiene habits in the home:  To get an overall picture of people’s food safety behaviour, the Index of Recommended Practice (IRP) is used; this is a composite measure of food hygiene knowledge and behaviours within the home. A higher IRP score indicates more reported behaviours that are in line with recommended food safety practice. The average score in the wave five report was 67%, the same as reported in wave four and an increase from 64% in wave one, showing that most respondents follow FSA recommendations on food safety in the home. 

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