Please enable cookies to allow videos to display across the site. Click the icon in the bottom left of the site to adjust your preferences.

Brand mislabelling or contamination alters buying habits of half of British consumers

  • According to new research conducted by GS1 UK, 45 per cent of UK consumers would change their future shopping habits based on previous cases of brand mislabelling or contamination
  • A worrying 37 per cent believe that brands and retailers are not transparent when it comes to product recalls
  • Consumer awareness of these issues continues to grow, with two in five saying they are constantly mindful of food contamination

London, 6 August 2020 – New research conducted for GS1 UK by YouGov, reveals that a colossal 45 per cent of consumers would change their future shopping habits following cases of product mislabelling or contamination.

While negatively impacting both manufacturers and retailers, those surveyed confirmed that brands would be four times more likely to be negatively affected after cases of contamination and recalls in comparison to the supermarkets they had been stocked in. In addition, a concerning 37 per cent of those surveyed believe that brands and retailers lack transparency with customers about occurrences of product recalls.

These findings varied significantly between regions, with those surveyed in the South East reporting the highest levels of mistrust at 39 per cent, and the East Midlands the lowest at 27 per cent.

Heightened consumer mistrust can in part be attributed to the growing awareness of the sector’s vulnerability to these issues – nine out of ten of those surveyed had heard of food contamination at source and two in every five stated they were mindful of food contamination whenever they shopped.

The research, conducted for GS1 UK’s recent traceability report, asserts that food product traceability is more important than ever before for consumers and this has been heightened by the Covid-19 pandemic, calling on retailers and brands to provide greater levels of transparency and assurances on safety.

This is where GS1 UK’s standards come into play, helping to guarantee the traceability of products through tracking individual items at every stage of the supply chain using unique barcode identification keys.

Gary Lynch, chief executive of GS1 UK, said: “Our research has shown that Coronavirus has changed consumer’s behaviour when it comes to buying food, with ‘health and wellbeing’ given a much higher priority. This means that consumers want to understand were the food they eat comes from and they expect brands and retailers to make this available to them in a simple and transparent way.

“Using GS1 identifiers, we can help companies provide an accurate end-to-end record of a product’s lifespan. Only then will businesses be able to build trust with their customers, maintain consumer demand and, ultimately, help ensure their survival in what is becoming an increasingly competitive and saturated market.”

The report includes a simple diagram plotting these identification keys against steps in a product journey from farm to fork, to show just how easy it is to be end-to-end traceable using five standards and their identifiers.

Download a copy of the The importance of traceability in an increasingly transparent world report here.

- ENDS -

About GS1 UK

GS1 UK is just one of 115 neutral and independent GS1 organisations operating worldwide. From product barcodes to patient wristbands, GS1 standards have been transforming the way we work and live for more than 40 years.

Whether online, in store or in a hospital, the common language of GS1 global standards is helping our community of more than 42,000 organisations across Britain to uniquely identify, describe and track anything, creating greater trust in data for everyone.

For more information or requests for interviews, please contact