Deloitte: Consumers turn to various resources for recall information

Many surveyed aren't familiar with Food Safety Modernization Act

NEW YORK — Consumers that seek timely and detailed information about product recalls look to multiple resources, according to a new Deloitte survey.

Although most consumers (73% and 69%, respectively) hold manufacturers and government agencies responsible for conveying recall information in a timely fashion, Internet access and social media are driving consumers to advocacy groups (up 12% this year to 35%) and peers (27%, up 8% from 2010) for up-to-date recall information. For instance, more than 9-out-of-10 consumers feel the Consumer Product Safety Commission's new online database will be important in helping them make future purchasing decisions.

When it comes to which products raised the biggest safety concerns, most consumers cited household products, including cleaners and detergents (56%), and such personal care products as cosmetics and moisturizers (57%). When it comes to food products, the healthiness of ingredients is the No. 1 concern for more than half of consumers surveyed (up 5 percentage points from 2010 to 54%).

Deloitte, however, also noted that about 7-out-of-10 consumers are not familiar with the new Food Safety Modernization Act, which is one of the biggest overhauls to the nation's food safety system.

"Consumers want checks and balances in the information they receive and are insisting on a greater level of transparency about the safety, ingredients and origin of products. So they're turning to advocacy groups and peers as trusted sources," Deloitte vice chairman and U.S. consumer products practice leader Pat Conroy said. "This is a wake-up call for consumer products companies; they need to get ahead of this shift and work more directly with consumers to build brand advocates and stronger customer relationships."

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