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The food industry’s provision of allergen information to consumers


This report presents the findings from research conducted by IFF Research on behalf of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Food Standards Scotland (FSS). The aim of this study is to understand the current provision of information on
allergenic ingredients by food businesses to consumers for non-prepacked food, and to see how this has changed since the legislative changes which came into full force in 2014. The Food Information Regulations 2014 together with Regulation (EU) No.
1169/2011 (EU FIC) state that food businesses must inform consumers if any of 14 allergens listed in its Annex II have been added as ingredients or processing aids to foods. The study also provides a new baseline of understanding for food prepacked for
direct sale (PPDS), i.e. foods that have been packed before being offered for sale on the same premises from which they are being sold. This includes exploring food business operators’ (FBOs) awareness and intentions in the light of new legislation1
coming into effect in 2021, which requires them to provide full ingredients labelling for PPDS foods. The study comprised of four stages: • An initial scoping phase, comprising of nine qualitative telephone interviews with key industry stakeholders including trading standards officers (TSOs) and environmental health officers (EHOs); industry representatives; consumer representatives; and policy experts. Interviews took place between December 2019 and January 2020. • A core quantitative telephone survey of 2,303 FBOs across the UK. Survey fieldwork took place via computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) between February and March 2020. Results for these interviews are weighted to be representative of all UK FBOs selling non-prepacked foods. Differences noted in the report commentary are statistically significant at the 95% level of confidence unless stated otherwise. • A separate quantitative telephone survey of 55 market traders. These respondents were recruited via visits to markets across the UK, with interviews
also completed via CATI. Due to a lack of reliable population data, these results are unweighted and reported in a separate chapter. • Qualitative follow-up interviews with 21 FBOs and market traders who took part in the quantitative surveys. Interviews took place in September and October 2020. Unless stated otherwise, the following results are taken from the core quantitative survey of 2,303 FBOs across the UK. It is important to note that survey interviews do not capture businesses’ actual behaviour. What respondents say they do is reported behaviour. This should be borne in mind when reading this report.