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Appetite to know: Europeans want food origin labelling

24 January 2013
by BEUC -- last modified 24 January 2013

The origin is one of the key criteria for consumers when buying food. These are the results of a survey on origin labelling presented today in Brussels by The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC). Conducted in Sweden, France, Poland and Austria, the representative survey polled consumers about their expectations for origin labelling on food.


Confirming EU-wide Eurobarometer data and BEUC member research, on average 70% of respondents say the origin to be an important factor when buying food.

The survey findings also reveal that a clear majority of shoppers4 want to know the specific country their food comes from. Only about 10% of people polled indicated to prefer the indication EU or non-EU.

6 out of 10 respondents want to know both the country where a processed food's primary ingredient was farmed or harvested and the country where the food itself was manufactured5. Such demands would prevent practices like labelling sausages as "British" when the pork comes from Denmark.

Monique Goyens, Director General of BEUC, commented:

"In 2013, the EU will decide on crucial rules on origin labelling. Our survey clearly shows that this info ranks high when people buy food. Making origin labelling meaningful and easy to find should be legislators' yardstick."

"Producers go to great lengths to make consumers believe their food has a special regional character. German feta cheese promoted in Greek font or Chinese tomato sauce with Italian flags are poor marketing tricks to mislead shoppers. Such dishonest practices are unacceptable and should be stopped."

"Current origin labelling rules are inadequate. All meats, milk, unprocessed food and single-ingredient food should mandatorily reveal the country it comes from. Just to indicate whether food is from the EU or not is not an option for consumers."

BEUC, The European Consumer Organisation has a membership of 40 well respected, independent national consumer organisations from 30 European countries (EU, EEA and applicant countries). BEUC acts as the umbrella group in Brussels for these organisations and our main task is to represent our members and defend the interests of all Europe's consumers.

BEUC, the European Consumers' Organisation