Although the majority of U.S. consumers believe that foods in supermarkets are safe, the percentage who feel this way has decreased during the past five years, according to survey results from The NPD Group Inc., Port Washington, N.Y. NPD said its latest NPD Food Safety Monitor -- which has tracked food safety concerns and eating intentions in the U.S. every other week since 2001 -- indicates that in 2007 and 2008, 63 percent of consumers surveyed agreed with the statement that foods sold in supermarkets are safe, versus 68 percent who agreed with the statement in 2004.
"I believe that consumers' slipping confidence in the safety of supermarket food is less about food safety and more about supermarkets expanding foodservice operations and offering more prepared, ready-to-eat foods," says Harry Balzer, NPD vice president and chief industry analyst. "More food handling issues and concerns come into play when foods are prepared for you. Consumers are now extending the concerns they have about the safety of foods served at restaurants to supermarkets."