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Consumers worry about food safety

Safety concerns surrounding Covid-19 have accelerated consumers’ worries about factors that impact overall health, most notably food safety and the environment, according to a global research study released by Tetra Pak.

Conducted in partnership with Ipsos, the Tetra Pak Index points towards a dilemma in the consumers’ minds as they try to balance the critical priorities of human existence through safe food and sustainability of the planet we live on.

The study, in its 13th edition, has seen a 10-percent increase in global concern about food safety and future food supplies, now at 40 percent, compared to 30 percent from 2019. In addition, more than 50 percent of consumers not only believe that improving food safety is the responsibility of manufacturers, they see it as the number one issue that companies need to tackle now and in the future.

According to this year’s research, health is deeply connected to heightened issues of food safety and hygiene: with two-thirds of consumers saying that being healthy is being safe and 60 percent of consumers globally saying they worry about the food they buy being hygienic and safe.

When asked what is key for them in a package, consumers indicate that ensuring food safety is its main purpose. They also express concerns about environmental innovations in packaging impacting food safety, even though the majority of respondents indicate ‘using sustainable packaging’ as one of the top issues food and beverage brands need to tackle.

“Covid-19 has accelerated trends and created a new landscape of consumer needs and opportunities for companies to build on, urging the industry to address the twin goals of meeting the human need for food while protecting our planet’s ecosystem,” Michael Wu, Managing Director of Tetra Pak Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, said in a statement.

In line with the report findings, John Jose, Tetra Pak Marketing Director for Malaysia Singapore, Philippines, and Indonesia, shared the company’s efforts to address these concerns. “Tetra Pak is taking a critical step towards a sustainable future. We are already on a journey to create the ultimate sustainable food package: a carton package solely made from responsibly sourced renewable materials, fully recyclable and carbon-neutral, allowing ambient distribution and meeting food safety requirements.”

In the Philippines, the discussion on the country’s vulnerability to climate change was pushed into the spotlight especially after three consecutive typhoons recently ravaged the country. With this growing concern on disaster mitigation and recovery, the private sector has amped up initiatives to reduce impact in the environment by using recyclable materials for their products and strengthening their plastic recovery programs.

Additionally, the company noted that the impact of Covid-19 on supply chains has accelerated awareness of food waste as a pressing issue. Consumers cite food waste reduction as both the number one environmental issue they can influence themselves and one of the top three priorities for manufacturers.