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Caterers and restaurants see boost after pandemic

According to a new survey of trust in the food industry funded by Eit Food

The results of the EIT Food-funded Increasing consumer trust and support for the food supply chain and for food companies project show that trust in different actors in the food industry has increased due to COVID19 outbreak. EIT Food is an innovation community supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union. The survey was carried out across six countries: UK, Spain, Italy, Finland, Poland, and Israel. The change was most pronounced for caterers and restaurants followed by food manufacturers.

In the latest survey of UK consumers conducted in October 2021, caterers and restaurants improved their public trust scores to 4.74/7 from 4.48/7 in 2020. Asked specifically about how COVID-19 has affected trust in the British food industry, restaurants and caterers, and food manufacturers saw the biggest increases in scores compared to 2020.

The catering sector has been one of the most affected by COVID-19, with measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus meaning that outlets closed their doors to customers during national and local lockdowns. The resulting innovation, from takeaways and delivered food to street market food has enabled many businesses to continue to trade, and the researchers believe that this innovation has contributed significantly to increasing public trust.

Richard Bennett, Professor of Agricultural Economics at the University of Reading who led the project, said: “Consumer trust in the food supply chain, as a result of people's experiences during COVID-19, has increased in 2021 especially in relation to trust in restaurants and caterers".

Alongside caterers, food manufacturers have also seen an increase in public trust scores for 2021, as the whole sector continues to improve their standing in consumers’ minds.

More: in the UK, trust in farmers is the highest (5.12/7) followed by retailers (4.87/7), restaurants and caterers (4.74/7), food manufacturers (4.72/7) and authorities (4.33/7). This is largely in line with the 2020 survey which also found trust in farmers (5.15/7) to be the highest followed by retailers (4.6/7), restaurants (4.48/7), food manufacturers (4.45/7) and authorities (4.12/7).

On the impact of COVID-19 outbreak on trust in different actors by country, UK consumers said that the experience of COVID-19 increased trust mostly in farmers (4.79/7) followed by increased trust in retailers (4.55/7), food manufacturers (4.53/7) and restaurants and caterers (4.49/7). The 2020 survey also found trust in farmers (4.45/7) to have been impacted the most, followed by trust in retailers (4.18/7), with trust in restaurants (4.01/7) and food manufacturers (3.99/7) not changing. The higher scores in the 2021 survey indicate a higher positive impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on consumer trust in food actors and the food supply chain in 2021 compared to 2020.

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EFA News - European Food Agency