By Daniel Hunter

UK shoppers want to know that the goods in their basket are safe — and are willing to pay more for that reassurance, new research shows.

The study, released by TÜV SÜD, showed that nearly two thirds of shoppers are willing to pay a premium of around 14.4 per cent above and beyond standard prices if they know products are safe.

The demand for safety has grown in recent years. Nearly two thirds (61 per cent) of those surveyed stated that product safety is very important to them now, up from less than half (48 per cent) in 2007.

Nearly half of British shoppers (45 per cent) say that they have personal experience of an unsafe product within the last five years. There is also a growing pressure on the UK Government to tighten product safety legislation, as only four in ten consumers surveyed think that penalties imposed on companies failing product standards are strict enough. Shoppers are particularly concerned with online purchases, according to the research.

Almost all of British shoppers surveyed (94 per cent) called for greater transparency on product labelling to make clear how safe the product was and where components had come from.

“Shoppers demand that a business can guarantee their products are safe — and they want to see the proof of this. Transparent labelling and sourcing are increasingly important to shoppers," Ishan Palit, Chief Executive Officer, TÜV SÜD Product Service Division, said.

“Businesses that cannot provide these reassurances could see demand for their products dropping. Those businesses that can demonstrate the safety of their products have a real opportunity — as our research shows shoppers will pay a premium for products that achieve exemplary safety standards.”

The Safety Gauge survey was undertaken in the United States, the United Kingdom, China, India and Japan — markets that represent almost half (47 per cent) of worldwide Gross Domestic Product.

It included surveys of more than 5,000 consumers and 500 management-level employees in manufacturers, distributers and retailers that operate in the food and beverage, children’s products and consumer electronics industries.

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