IN its monthly look at the work of Red Tractor, Farmer examines the findings of a new report showing why consumers trust food from UK farms.

DO YOU trust where your food has come from? Maybe you haven’t even thought about it before. Perhaps you automatically have faith in the food you buy to feed yourself or your family.

The fact is 84% of the British public certainly have that confidence about food produced right here in the UK, the first ever Trust in Food Index – launched in October – has confirmed.

The YouGov poll of over 3,500 adults found that UK food is as trusted as NHS care or the water that comes out of the tap. It’s a stark statistic, and one that’s testament to the hard work that has been carried out – largely under the radar – by all those involved in the food supply chain, from farm to fork.

Central to that is the Red Tractor food and farming scheme. It was created 21 years ago when trust in UK food was at rock bottom; confidence had plummeted due to successive food scares such as salmonella poisoning from eggs and a BSE crisis, which cast a shadow over the beef sector.

Over the past two decades through robust standards and independent inspections, it has become the UK’s most trusted food marque, covering three-quarters of British agriculture.

What the report found

Food is at the centre of the fiercest of public debates – how it’s produced, how it is labelled, and what constitutes a healthy diet? About 70% of the report’s respondents believed that that inspection and assurance schemes such as British Lion and Red Tractor play a greater role than the Government in ensuring that the food in the UK is safe and of good quality. Moreover nearly half of those surveyed refer to high standards and regulations as the reason they trust food in the UK.

Red Tractor’s Chair Christine Tacon said: “The most important finding in this report isn’t simply that most people trust the food they buy in the UK. It’s the reason why. By far the biggest reason why people trust food in the UK is the strength of our food standards and our independent assurance schemes.”

More than twice as many people trust food bought in shops than from takeaways and deliveries, with 78% trusting food bought from supermarket and 37% for food from takeaways and deliveries.

Ms Tacon added: “Crucially, the parts of the UK food industry where those standards and schemes are less visible to consumers – such as takeaways and food service businesses – have much lower levels of trust. More than twice as many people trust food from shops and supermarkets, where front of pack logos and certifications are visible, than trust takeaways and deliveries, where those standards and the regulations they follow are harder to track and see.”

Trust in UK produce stood out from the findings, while a scepticism over other production methods in other countries was clear to seeWhile 84% of UK consumers trust food from Britain, levels of trust in food from outside the UK vary wildly. Ireland and New Zealand are perceived as trustworthy, as is Sweden, Germany, Italy, Denmark and the Netherlands. But only one quarter of Brits trust food from the USA and even fewer trust food from China at 11 %.