Introduction

The contemporary Australian or New Zealander is largely removed from the growth, harvesting, transformation and production of food. Whereas in past times consumers may have had an on-going personal relationship with various food producers, today the complexity and length of food supply chains makes this largely impossible. Trust in the institutions that deliver safe and suitable food have replaced the inter-personal relationships and the trust that previously developed between consumer and producer. Trust in these institutions facilitate the operation of the food market and without this trust the market would be unable to operate as efficiently. Trust reduces the transactions costs in the food market for both consumer and producer. FSANZ has selected two measures of trust to monitor our performance: 1) Consumer's trust in food labelling, and 2) Consumer's confidence in FSANZ.

FSANZ is continuing to work with our partners to better understand trust in the food regulatory system and what strategies help to build trust. We have also been working with our partners on the development of an instrument that is able to measure different aspects of trust in food and the food regulatory system.

Data

The data reported here are drawn from two consumer surveys of nationally representative Australian and New Zealand samples. Both surveys used self-report measures of trust. The 2015 Consumer Label Survey used a 5-point, fully-labelled, strongly disagree to strongly agree scale to the statement: Generally speaking, I trust the information on food labels. The results reported below are estimates of the Australian and New Zealand populations who somewhat and strongly agreed with the statement. The 2007 Consumer Attitudes Survey used a 7-point, anchored at the extremes with not at all confident and extremely confident, scale to the question: How confident are you in the work of Food Standards Australia New Zealand? The results below represent the proportion of each sample that reported confidence in FSANZ.

Supplementary data from other sources on the level of trust in food labels and the level of confidence in FSANZ were not identified in the 2019-20 financial year (FY). When such data becomes available it will be used to supplement FSANZ data.

Results

​Outcome ​Performance measure ​Results ​Context
​Consumers trust food labelling

​% of respondents who respond positively about trust in the information on food labels

  • Australian consumers
  • New Zealand consumers

 

 

67%

77%

​% of external reports (academic, consultancy research, other government agencies) that report positively about consumer trust in food labels.

​n/a

Results are reported from the 2015 Consumer Label Survey[1] as baseline measures. New data on this performance measure will require additional funding which has not been available in this reporting period.

FSANZ did not undertake review of external reports in this FY.

​Consumers have confidence in FSANZ

​% of respondents who report having confidence in FSANZ

  • Australian consumers
  • New Zealand consumers

 

55%

49%

​Results are reported from the 2007 Consumer Attitudes Survey as baseline measures.[1] FSANZ has not collected new data on this performance measure. We are currently seeking approaches to progress this work through collaboration with external provider or academia and collection of new data.

FSANZ did not undertake review of external reports in this FY.

​% of external reports (academic, consultancy research, other government agencies) that report positively about consumer confidence in FSANZ and food regulatory system.

​n/a

Conclusion

The results reported reflect particular points in time, 2007 and 2015, and thus may not represent actual contemporary levels of trust. While there is a moderately high proportion of both Australia and New Zealand populations who express trust in food labels, there is still room for improvement. There is a greater room for improvement in the proportions of the sample who reported confidence in FSANZ.

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