Market research and consumer protection
A Food Standards Agency case study

Page 1: Introduction

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The UK government set up the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in 2000 by Act of Parliament. It is a non-ministerial government department. This means that it reports to the government but it is run by a Board which acts on the public's behalf. This ensures it can act independently to protect consumers. The public can have confidence that the decisions it takes about food safety are in their best...
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Page 2: Market research

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Market research is about finding out what customers and consumers think, want or need. For example, market research helps businesses decide on what new products or services they will offer. Before carrying out market research, it is important to define the aims and objectives of the research, that is, what does the consumer or organisation want to find out and why. These questions guide the...
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Page 3: Primary and secondary research

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Market research can be either primary or secondary. Primary research is new research, carried out to answer specific issues or questions. It can involve questionnaires, surveys or interviews with individuals or small groups. Secondary research makes use of information previously researched for other purposes and publicly available. This is also known as 'desk research'. Secondary research...
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Page 4: Quantitative and qualitative research

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Quantitive research Quantitative research presents information numerically, for example, by use of percentages. All respondents in interviews or questionnaires answer the same questions to ensure consistency. For example, the following question was used before and after the advertising campaign: 'How often, if at all, do you use information on salt, fat, sugar or saturated fat on the FRONT of...
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Page 5: Analysis and use of market research

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The market research showed that increasing numbers of consumers are aware of the work of the FSA, the importance of a healthy diet and how the traffic light system guides their purchasing. This system makes it easy for consumers to make healthier food choices quickly and easily. Healthy eating is all about getting the overall balance right. Consumers should look for products with green, amber...
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Page 6: Conclusion

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The FSA carries out market research with consumers, producers and retailers to identify ways to educate the public about diet and food issues. The FSA uses science-based evidence about healthy eating and food to protect consumers and public health. It also uses existing market research about food consumption produced by organisations such as MINTEL as well as conducting its own...
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