Prepared convenience foods and associated food safety risks
Project Reference: 06-2019
Commencement Date: December 2019
Project Duration: 18 months
Prepared convenience meals (i.e. chilled meals that require little preparation/processing in the home) are a rapidly expanding supermarket category on the Island of Ireland (IOI). The number of local companies producing and selling these meals directly to the consumer also continues to rise. Often, prepared convenience meals are designed to meet dietary recommendations e.g. the elderly and/or help consumers reach personal goals (muscle gain, fat loss). The variety of meals available may be uncooked, partially cooked or fully cooked and thus require different preparation/heating procedures to be undertaken by the consumer at home.
As consumers may ignore or misunderstand label/manufacturer instructions that would enable them to maximise the quality and safety of prepared convenience meals, Queens University Belfast (QUB) will carry out a combination of both quantitative and qualitative methods (delivered in in five tasks) which aim to audit on-pack/manufacturer provided instructions and explore consumer understanding and behaviour in relation to prepared convenience foods.
Prof Moira Dean, Queen's University Belfast