On a bi-weekly basis, when theFood Safety Monitorsurvey is conducted, there are fluctuations in the percentages of consumers who are not or are concerned about the safety of the U.S. food supply based on whether or not there is a food safety issue in the news, but the annual averages remain relatively constant.
There are also spikes and then a leveling off with specific food safety outbreaks, according to NPD. For example, this past summer, in July and August, there were outbreaks and product recalls involving listeria contamination. Awareness of and concern about listeria peaked during the time the outbreaks were widely reported and then leveled off when the news subsided.
“The impact of a food recall on consumer attitudes and perceptions often depends on the amount of news coverage received, or the severity of the situation in terms of numbers sickened or dead as a result,” says Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst. “Recalls, unfortunately, have become more commonplace, but consumers are creatures of habit. It takes a lot for us to change what we eat.”