NEW YORK — More than half of consumers (58%) who hear about product safety and/or quality issues turn away from such products for more than nine months, on average, according to a recent Deloitte study. The researcher focused on packaged food and beverages, fresh food, toys and consumer electronics for its “Food and Product Safety and its Effect on Consumer Buying Habits” study. Changes in buying habits were most prevalent in the food categories, it found.
When asked about consumable products, nearly half of respondents (49%) said they were extremely concerned about product safety, with the greatest concerns coming from women (53%) and consumers 55 and older (56%). Shoppers are also wary of products produced outside of the U.S.; 65% expressed extreme concern about the safety of products produced elsewhere; and about three in four expressed extreme concern about foods produced in China.
Respondents also indicated they’d like more information about the safety of food products provided on packaging (86%), company websites (81%) and by the government (81%). More than two-thirds (67%) said that food product labels with country-of-origin labeling, certification of product testing and certification of quality testing would be extremely important in their buying decisions.
“Consumers’ increased sensitivity of product safety and quality is having a long-term effect on business,” said Pat Conroy, Deloitte’s vice chairman and U.S. consumer products practice leader, in a statement. “Product recalls impact companies’ revenues and share price, as well as market share and brand perception. We’ve seen that, while some companies can maneuver through recalls relatively unscathed, others suffer catastrophic damage.”
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