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Food Safety & Quality

Food Safety & Quality

What is it and why does it matter?

Providing food that is safe for human consumption, underpinned by transparent management of chemicals – such as antibiotics (or other antimicrobial agents) – that are used in the food chain (and where possible eliminating or substituting their use).

Fundamentally important for consumers and customers, a must have. Especially important in markets that have experienced food scandals (e.g., China) or where there is a strong ‘natural’ focus. Agenda setters see this as fundamental as well but treat it as an assumed given ….although they recognise the risks in any failings. Potential opportunity to link to traceability/data trend to offer proof.


Of meat industry buyers believe that “providing products which are of high quality and safe for human consumption” is important when choosing a supplier


​From Claims to HI- Tech Transparency

Start-ups like Food ID are offering robust antibiotic free tracing

Insights from 

Agenda Setters​

The safety and quality of food is unanimously viewed as being of paramount importance in a sustainable global food system, and something that is taken as a given. Irish stakeholders recognised that there is an ongoing risk of reputational damage if there is any slip up on the issue, especially given Ireland’s reliance on export markets. ​

​For sustainability leads it is a fundamental, often mentioned alongside sustainable nutrition. Strongly linked to transparency and traceability – this is particularly evident when the retailers ‘own brand is on the line’ i.e., private label.

Customers ​

Consistently the fundamental #1 item for customers for both their own business (93%) and when choosing suppliers (98%). This is not surprising as it is the pillar ‘idea’ behind the buyers’ key criteria of quality, service and price. Though in more developed markets it's hard to see how quality and safety can stand out. For many it is a table stake.


Quality assurance is regularly chosen across markets and sectors as something consumers are willing to pay a premium for and find appealing. It especially stood out in this research as a driver for purchase and premium of alcohol, seafood and pigmeat. It is of primary importance for consumers in Eastern markets, where food safety and its naturalness are more important than attributes pointing to planetary and animal health. As such, for exporters to these markets food safety credentials are important to amplify. 

However, food safety and quality assurance can sometimes be a table stake, especially in Western markets. While quality assurance will always be seen as a key purchasing criteria, there are various assurances shoppers may look for or find credible. In Ireland, we know the Bord Bia Quality Mark does a good job of communicating quality, but this appeal is necessarily limited in export markets. While potentially difficult for brands to stand out, it’s very important to makes sure quality assurance is strong in brand messaging. 

38%​ of beef consumers are

willing to pay more for beef that is quality assured​
Insights & Implications
Insights & Implications

Review the headline insights from the Global Food Sustainability Outlook research.

Review the Insights & Implications