Consumer confidence in food safety is at its highest point in seven years, according to the Food Marketing Institute’s “U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends” report issued this week. Almost 9 out of 10 (88 percent) of shoppers reported being “completely” or “somewhat” confident in the safety of food at the supermarket, according to FMI.  Import food, however, remains questionable in terms of food safety especially from many countries, the report noted.  When asked where they believe the food safety breaches occur, more than half of food shoppers named food processing and manufacturing plants.  However, when respondents were asked who is responsible for ensuring food safety, more than half (58 percent) of respondents said they are responsible for the safety of their food, up 7 points from 2010.  Next on the list are manufacturers and processors at 35 percent, followed by supermarkets and government agencies at 28 percent each.

Economic issues dominate the supermarket industry’s worries even though consumers seemed to be easing slightly on bargain hunting.  Industry executives were almost equal in the percentages predicting improved and reduced conditions in the year to come, especially as concerns on inflation grow.  About 60 percent of shoppers say their primary store is not located closest to their home and 74 percent say price remains the main driver of their shopping decisions.  Further the number of shopping trips made each week has dropped to 1.7, down nearly 0.5 from past years, with some shoppers now making only one trip each week.  Economic pressures are dampening concerns on health and wellness.  The survey also found a growing use by consumers of social media. FMI says social media provides new opportunities for linking to shoppers and creating community centers on line.