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63% ranked cost at the most important factor. Shutterstock/Minerva Studio
Cost of Living

Cost cited as most important factor for Irish consumers when buying food

The FSAI says it’s not surprising given the ‘current high cost of living climate and rising household bills’.

COST IS THE most important consideration for Irish consumers when buying food.

That’s one of the findings in a new report by the European Food Safety Authority.

It recently published Eurobarometer on food safety is the first to be published since 2019.

When asked about factors affecting food purchases, 63% of Irish people ranked cost as the most important factor, an increase of 6% on 2019’s results.

Taste (54%) and food safety (52%) were the next two most important considerations.

The research also reveals that Irish consumers place more importance on price than our European neighbours.

While cost was the top concern across the EU as the whole, the average for the EU 27 was 54%.

Dr Pamela Byrne, Chief Executive with the Food Safety Authority of Irelans, said the results weren’t surprising given the “current high cost of living climate and rising household bills”.

The latest Consumer Price Index from the CSO, covering the month of August, revealed an annual increase of 8.8% for food and non-alcoholic beverages.

That was coupled with significant year-on-year increases in energy costs, with electricity up 38.1%, gas up 56.1%, and home heating oil up 72.9%.

Meanwhile, three in four Irish people say they are “personally interested in the topic of food safety” and 90% agree that regulations are in place to ensure that the food we eat is safe.

Dr Byrne said that “from a food safety perspective, it is encouraging to see that Irish consumers place food safety as the third most important factor when buying food”.

When asked about food safety concerns, 39% listed food poisoning from food or drinks contaminated by bacteria, viruses, and parasites.

This was closely followed by concerns about pesticide residues in food, at 36%.

Of those who didn’t engage with food safety, close to half (47%) said they took for granted that the food sold is safe.

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