7 stats that spotlight consumers' top food concerns

Sugar and waste worries are on the rise, according to the Food Safety Agency’s latest report.

1 February 2018
animal welfarefood wastenutritionpricingsaltstatisticssugar
image credit: AndreyPopov/iStock/Thinkstock

For those that love mining Excel sheets for statistical nuggets, the Food Safety Agency has just released its biannual Public Attitudes Tracker. Conducted in November 2017, the results show a similar response compared to previous surveys, as those questioned seemed fairly unmoved by food scandals such as the 2 Sisters fiasco or Europe’s contaminated eggs. Here, we’ve highlighted some of the key findings.


  • More people were concerned about the amount of sugar in food than anything else – 52% were worried about going too sweet
  • This easily trumped the 43% who were savvy about salt and the 40% who fretted over fat, illustrating how anti-sugar rhetoric has reversed the norm since 2012
  • Overall, 13% more were observing sugar content than in 2010
  • Nutrition clearly tops thoughts when it comes to our food, more than food hygiene (36%), GMOs (22%), pesticides and additives (both 26%)
  • In fact, while still significant, fears over food safety in restaurants (45%) and retailers (42%) has never been lower
  • Instead, social responsibility went toe to toe with nutritive content: 48% were paying attention to food waste while 43% thought about animal welfare. The FSA report noted that there has been a clear increase in concern about wastage since it first began the Public Attitudes Tracker
  • While people are noticeably less anxious than in 2012 about the price of food (46% compared to 63%), it was still the number-one issue that respondents thought of spontaneously (15%). In other words, when they were asked what food concerns they had (rather than given a list of options to choose from), most consumers immediately thought of cost first

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