Among the food emergencies that have reached the honour role of the news in these past years the most known are the emergencies of the “mad cow” and the emergency of the “avian flu”. The eco of the emergencies has also directly influenced the purchasing habits of Italian consumers: more than 60% of the sample interviewed by TNS infratest, actually, declares to have changed his/her purchasing habits especially by not buying products involved in the emergency, or continuing to buy only those products guaranteed either by the sales point or by a trusted brand.
The most traditional media (TV 59% and press 33%) are the most informative channels for the sample when it has to decide whether to continue or not to buy the food products involved in the scandal. Declarations on behalf of well-known scientific people have less relevance as well as the position of the chains of distribution usually frequented. The declarations of sector companies involved are hardly listened to.
However the major discount has been available for only a small part of the sample interviewed, a driver for the purchase of the food products involved in food scandals. The Italian consumer has preferred not to purchase highly discounted products and those who have, have bought (poultry products) involved in the “avian”emergency.
However, meat products remain the most risky food product for Italians. Some say they will no longer purchase a food product which could be harmful to his/her own health; meat is the most cited product. 41% of the citations confirm meat to be the most dangerous product for food safety well before fruit and vegetables (31%) and canned foods (30%).
More than half of the sample claims to have bought at least once food products directly from the producer, especially fruit and vegetables (62%) followed by meat/coldcuts (34%) and diary products (34%). The majority of these purchasers claim that in the future they will continue to buy directly from the producer.
The scandals in the food industry in the past years have, however, influenced the credibility of brands: about 70% of the sample reckons that there are no completely reliable brands on the market; Barilla (37%) is among the most reliable brands.