The importance of food issues in society: Results from a national survey in Australia
Meyer, Samantha B
Henderson, Julie Anne
Coveney, John David
Ward, Paul Russell
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Aim: It has been demonstrated previously that consumer attitudes about food issues influence and shape consumer behaviour. The aim of this paper was to identify demographic and socio-economic variables associated with a range of consumer opinions regarding the importance of four pre-selected food issues. Methods: A National survey conducted in Australia (random sample n=1109; response rate 41.2%) was undertaken in 2009 to investigate consumer opinions regarding food issues that may influence food choice and behaviour. Respondents were specifically asked whether the following were important food issues in society; additives, genetically modified (GM) foods, unhealthy eating, and food allergies. Results: Most respondents considered unhealthy eating (96.1%) and food allergies (92.1%) to be important issues in society. Fewer participants, but still the majority, regarded additives (78.5%) and GM foods (67.7%) as important. The study identified that specific food issues were of particular concern to women, older respondents, respondents with an income between $30,000 and $60,000 (AUD), and respondents living in a household of five or more people. Concerns about GM foods and additives were associated with the greatest number of demographic and socio-economic variables studied. Conclusion: This paper has confirmed that the food issues studied were important to the participants surveyed. Demographic and socioeconomic factors were predictive of consumer opinion on the importance of individual food issues and may be useful to inform strategies and campaigns to address consumer concerns and public worries about food.
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