International policy developments for vegetable protein foods—The consumer perspective
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The first concern of any responsible consumer must be for the nonconsumers of the world. In the development of new food products, the food industry seeks to maximize profits. This is inevitable, but it means that many of the research resources, and efforts may be directed toward the fabrication of analogs and highly sophisticated processing. What the world really needs is an increased availability of cheap basic foods. Consumers have their own ideas of what is “real food:” their personal experiences since childhood tell them what is safe and acceptable to eat. These instinctive rather than informed criteria are not irrational since for thousands of years these were the only ways of judging wholesomeness. If consumers are to judge in other ways, they must be given information. They must be certain that someone is ensuring that their diet is not being changed to their detriment. They must be sure that everything possible has been done to check that there is nothing in a new food product that will harm in the years to come. They must be sure they are not being conned, deceived and defrauded. This is vital wherever food is sold. Countries and societies may produce differing answers as to the degree of control needed. Internationally, there should be some agreement on the basic safeguards, but labeling requirements must take into account the connotation of particular descriptions in different countries.
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