Consumers demand for quality and affordable food
The quality of fresh produce (35%) and its price (23%) are by far the two most important factors for consumers’ food purchasing decisions. Packaging and waste are also a key concern (14%).
These findings, from a recent questionnaire of the Capital’s consumers by the London Evening Standard, in association with Syngenta, revealed little or no concerns with food availability, or food safety. However, animal welfare (18%) was listed as a major consideration for many of those asked.
“The survey showed that farmers’ actions to produce high quality food, at an affordable price chimes so closely with consumers’ demands,” reported Syngenta Head of Marketing, Will Holmes (above).
On a visit to the Hertfordshire farm of Ian Pigott, the consumers were also asked what they considered were farmers’ most important skills? – with ‘Growing crops’ and ‘Environmental management’ clearly identified as the main attributes.
“Interestingly both growing crops and manging the environment were seen as absolutely equally important by the consumers questioned, with 27% of votes each,” Will highlighted.
However, many of the other skills used every day by growers, including people management, sales and marketing and financial acumen, received very little recognition from consumers as necessary elements to farm.
“What was really encouraging, was that consumers recognised the importance of new technology in farming,” he identified. “Of those questioned, 80% felt that it could have a positive impact on the environment, as farming strives to fulfil the increased demand for food in cities.”
The survey revealed how many consumers had limited concept of the efficiency of UK farmers and the amount of land required to provide London’s food.
Some 35% hugely overestimated that it would take a massive 20 x the area of London - which covers around 1600 km2 - to grow its food, whilst 15% believed it would take just five times the area. In fact, it is around 12 x the area of London - which equates to approximately 1.9 million hectares, or 11% of the UK farmed area.
Will believes these findings of consumers’ knowledge and understanding are important for farming industry communications to address misconceptions.
“The positive news is that, as a company, Syngenta is making great strides to ensure the quality of produce and, by increasing marketable yields, make more efficient use of every resource to deliver great value food."
"New farming technologies will further help to target better use of inputs in the future," he believed.
“Assuring supplies of high quality, affordable produce, whilst ensuring protection of biodiversity and natural resources, is core to the Syngenta Good Growth Plan for a sustainable food industry,” he added.