Can traceability improve consumers' confidence in food quality and safety?

W. van Rijswijk, J.R. Cornelisse-Vermaat, L.J. Frewer

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paper


Abstract This paper investigates whether the implementation of traceability systems in line with the European General Food Law as well as food labelling laws related to allergens can impact on consumer confidence in food quality and safety. It aims to give insight into consumer demands regarding food traceability, and how consumers perceive the role of traceability within the supply chain. Consumer needs, preferences and expectations regarding effective traceability systems and the delivery of traceability information to consumers were studied by means of consumer discussion groups. In addition, the information needs of a specific group of consumers, namely those with a food related allergy were more closely examined in an ethnographic study. Results showed that consumers generally have little knowledge of traceability and see the use of traceability primarily in relation to food safety. Consumers are confident that traceability systems in the Netherlands are well organized. Consumers are not satisfied with the level of information currently available to them on product labels, but at the same time current labelling is reported to be overwhelming. The acceptance of new systems for offering traceability information to consumers was low. The results point to the need for information on food labels in a format that is of direct use to the consumer. The discussion focuses how information available through food traceability systems should be presented in order to be beneficial to (food allergic) consumers.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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