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Citizens forums on food: country of origin labelling
Project Code: XA0605
BMRB was commissioned by the Food Standards Agency to conduct a nationwide series of ’citizens’ forums’, with the goal of establishing an ongoing dialogue with the public on food standards.
Country of origin labelling (COOL)
While awareness of COOL was high, participants did not make use of the origin information provided by labels very often. Cost and value for money remained the key factors when purchasing food. When they did use the COOL information provided it was to establish the authenticity of a product (i.e. consumers expected their raisins to come from California), to buy British produce or in order to avoid or boycott the produce of a certain country.
Participants did not use COOL information frequently in order to minimise the environmental impact or to ‘buy British’. Participants thought that COOL labelling was a necessity on meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy produce, fresh fruit and fresh vegetables. However, it was meat and meat related products which caused consumers most concern when it came to origin.
Exactly how COOL was defined was not well understood by participants. Participants thought that positive COOL labels used recognisable and simple imagery, they also thought there should be a standardised system .
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