28 November 2001
‘Poor people care about food quality’

By FWi staff

CONSUMERS on low incomes are concerned about more than the price of food, according to research by the National Consumer Council (NCC).

NCC director Anna Bradley said consumers at workshops in Bristol and Newcastle showed concerns which extended way beyond price.

“It is wrong to assume that even consumers on modest incomes are concerned only with purchasing the cheapest quality food,” she said.

“They are very exercised about the quality and safety of the food they eat and the way it is produced.”

Workshop participants called for more opportunities to buy their food from local food producers and action to combat the power of supermarkets.

They said they were worried about the power of the retailers relative to both consumers and farmers.

They also wanted measures to protect small shops in both urban and rural areas and clear labelling.

The NCC has produced a report as a result of the workshops which they have now sent to the policy commission on the future of food and farming.

It highlights that consumers are interested in the issue but fear their views will be sidelined by more influential voices when decisions are made.

“Ordinary consumers do want to have their say, but they fear that their recommendations will fall on deaf ears, “said Ms Bradley.

“This understandable scepticism is a challenge that the commission must address.”