Acrylamide Is Still an Unknown for Most Consumers
Royal DSM has published a new report in its Global Insights Series which indicates that consumers are still largely unaware of acrylamide—but those who do know something about it, know enough to be concerned.
DSM’s survey, conducted amongst consumers in France, Germany, the UK and the USA, shows that once knowledgeable about acrylamide, consumers expect food manufacturers to find solutions.
According to DSM only 22% of the consumers have even heard of acrylamide. The exception came in Germany, where 54% of those surveyed were aware of this carcinogen. If this figure is removed, the three remaining sample groups (France, the UK and USA) nearly halves to just under 12%.
Moreover, many consumers struggled to define it correctly. Some thought it was a chemical found in (or added to) food products, while others described it as a preservative. Some consumers were aware that acrylamide is a (potentially) carcinogenic substance found in food.
Most of the informed consumers (64%) have decided to take action to reduce their acrylamide consumption, by adjusting their cooking behavior. Around half of those surveyed believe the responsibility for acrylamide levels in the products they buy sits with food manufacturers, and just 28% believe regulators should take responsibility. More than half of these consumers (58%) expressed concern for their children’s health (possibly because acrylamide is found in foods that are popular with kids like breakfast cereals, cookies and potato chips).
However, nearly half of those surveyed (47%) believe that food producers bear the greatest responsibility for reducing acrylamide in food.
Acrylamide is a suspected carcinogen that forms in foods with reducing sugar that are processed at a high temperature. Many food manufacturers have already taken significant steps to reduce acrylamide levels in their products, but recent regulatory changes and increasing public awareness about acrylamide is prompting even further action.
DSM has developed solutions based on asparaginases to help processors reduce acrylamide in their products.