The report, conducted by ComRes and commissioned by traceability company Oritain, found that nearly half (48%) of British adults were less likely to buy meat if they could not be sure it had been produced in the UK, while two in five (42%) placed the risk of food mislabelling among their top three concerns for imported food standards following Brexit.
This comes following warnings by the House of Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee that animal welfare and quality standards could drop as a result of Brexit.
The UK currently imports half of all its food, and industry has repeatedly warned that a no-deal Brexit could cause food prices to soar due to the UK’s reliance on imports, and that mislabelling and fraud could occur due to a lack of coordination with EU regulators.
The survey also found that 69% of people said that they had become more concerned that food might be different from what the label claimed in the five years since the horsemeat scandal while 85% agreed that if a food brand were involved in a food scandal they would be less likely to buy their products in the future.
Grant Cochrane, CEO of Oritain, said: “Shoppers are increasingly looking for assurances of where their food is from and now we’re seeing their trust in imported products waning. Modern food supply chains are incredibly complex – food can cross multiple borders and pass through many hands before it reaches our shelves. With each exchange the risk of fraud and malpractice increases.
“Testing the intrinsic properties of food offers the assurances of origin that shoppers are looking for, rather than relying on, labels or additives that can be forged or tampered with.”
The report added that shoppers were now placing great value on food provenance, with nearly half (49%) agreeing they would pay more for food that had had its origin independently verified, while 71% felt it was important to know where their food was produced when deciding what to buy.