With World Food Safety Day taking place today (June 7), Kerry has released new statistics and research on consumer views around the topic of food safety and preservation.
World Food Safety Day is an international day to raise awareness and call for action on the availability of safe and healthy food for all. It is a day that recognizes the significant burden of foodborne illnesses, which according to the World Health Organization, affects 600m people, and leads to 420,000 fatalities each year.
Bert De Vegt, global vice president of food protection and preservation at Kerry, said, “The theme for World Food Safety Day 2021, Safe food now for a healthy tomorrow, reinforces the concept that the production and consumption of safe food has immediate and long-term consequences for people, societies and our planet.
“Our research has shown that Covid-19 has led people to feel vulnerable, which has resulted in an increased focus on the food they consume. They are increasingly seeking out consumer-friendly, familiar ingredients, which have been minimally processed. A key enabler of food safety is preservation, which may traditionally involve the use of synthetic ingredients or high energy, high water processes to extend the shelf life of food so that it can safely reach more consumers.
“Our research found that 78% of consumers agree that preservatives are important in food and beverage, though we also see that there is often a consumer premium for products with a no additives / preservatives claim. Replacing this food safety functionality with consumer-friendly, sustainable ingredients and production processes is a complex challenge that requires a high level of expertise and investment in preservation.”
De Vegt added the research also confirmed more than 20% of consumers do not follow the ‘expired by date’ on food and beverages. He said this shows further consumer education is needed to ensure consumers make informed decisions and to prevent consumption of food that is not safe (expired) without increasing waste of food that is still safe to eat (past its best before date).
“Along with the significant health burden associated with unsafe food, there is an important environmental impact, with our global food production system generating one third of our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with further emissions added through food waste going to landfill. The food system is a major contributor to climate change, and we need to collectively work together, to develop a sustainable global food system, where food produced remains safe for consumption over its shelf life and food waste is minimized,” De Vegt said.