In 2021 the Consumer Choice Center commissioned a polling from Savanta market research and advisory company to understand consumers’ positions on four different EU policy making areas: Consumers Choice and Government; Innovation & Sharing Economy; Agriculture & Food; and Science & Energy.
The intention of this research is to give a voice to consumers on consumer-related issues and better understand what consumers want in terms of protection and regulation – if at all.
Consumer Choice & Government
The European Union and member states tend to overregulate at the expense of consumers. Examples of such policies include the proposed forever-chemicals (PFAS) ban, the EU Beating Cancer Plan, and an extremely cautious approach to innovative technologies such as genetic engineering and nuclear energy. The polling results demonstrate that such a trend is at odds with what the European consumers want and prioritise. Freedom to choose is pivotal.
Our research found that 59% of consumers interviewed agree that the European Union often over regulates at the expense of European Consumers.
Two times more consumers than not (42% agree and 20% disagree), believe that government bans are harmful.
Almost 2 in 3 consumers interviewed agree that product and services bans don’t work as expected.
A vast majority of consumers think that the government should not restrict their freedom to choose.
Innovation & Sharing Economy
Innovation has made millions of European consumers better off. Thanks to platform economy apps such as Uber, Deliveroo and many others, consumers can now choose between various delivery and transportation options. Platform economy apps have boosted consumer choice and given many Europeans the opportunity to work independently. Gig work provides flexibility which increases its attractiveness to many Europeans. However, the EU has been seeking to regulate gig work, and some member states are overregulating platforms as such, which significantly reduces consumer choice.
Consumers love innovation! From our research, 73% of consumers think that the European Union should be more open to innovative solutions.
Two times more consumers (41% agree and 22% disagree) agree that sharing economy apps makes their lives easier.
Innovation is important! 69% of consumers interviewed agree that innovation plays an important role in making their lives better.
Agriculture & Food
The EU Farm to Fork strategy is an ambitious attempt to make agriculture in the EU and globally–through trade policy—sustainable. However, cutting the use of pesticides and fertilisers by 50 per cent, as proposed, will only increase the food prices and boost the black market.
The EU shouldn’t restrict the farmers’ freedom to use the preferred crop protection tools to avoid these unintended consequences. Alternatively, the EU should consider enabling genetic modification in EU. European consumers trust European farmers to choose crop protection tools to make food safe.
A third of consumers interviewed agree that the European Union is too cautious on genetically modified foods, meaning that there is space for allowing more innovation in this field.
Consumers want cheaper foods! From our research, 67% of consumers would like the European Union to embrace technologies that make food more affordable.
Consumers trust farmers! When asked if they trusted farmers to use crop protection products adequately to make safe food, 59% of consumers interviewed responded positively.
Science & Energy
The European Union remains unjustifiably cautious about nuclear energy. Nuclear is a low-carbon source of energy and an affordable source of energy. The European Union and member states should reconsider their approach, especially since consumers want it.
Consumers want science-based policy making! 76% of consumers agree that evidence should be the number one factor in driving EU policy making.
A very small percentage of consumers think the EU should not endorse Nuclear Energy. Almost half (49%) agree that the EU should endorse Nuclear Energy.
The Consumer Choice Center commissioned independent global research company Savanta, the world’s leading data, insights and consulting company, to independently carry out the research. In February 2022, a total of 500 people were surveyed in Belgium about their views on innovation, nuclear energy, agriculture, sharing economy, and pesticides.