Survey: Consumers Mistake 'Estonia' in Product Names for Certification of Origin ({{commentsTotal}})

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Half of the population believes that popular brand names that contain geographic adjectives like "Estonia" are made in that location when that is not necessarily the case, found a TNS Emor survey commissioned by the Agriculture Ministry.

Fifty-six percent of respondents said that "Eesti juust" (Estonian cheese) meant that it contained an Estonian-sourced main ingredient. The same share said that the tagline "Estonian product" meant Estonian origin.

Close to half (48 percent) said the phrase "Rakvere wiener" meant the primary ingredients were from Estonia.

Fifty-six percent said a product emblazoned with the Tallinn skyline was necessarily made in Estonia.

The selected expressions and phrases that were least frequently seen as prima facie evidence of Estonian origin included "Meie maitse" (our taste) - 20 percent; "Meie mari" (our berries) - 26 percent; and "homemade" - 26 percent.

Awareness of the swallow label that certifies food is made in Estonia from ingredients of Estonian origin is high. Eighty-one percent said, correctly, that the label meant the product was made in Estonia. Forty-seven percent said, also correctly, that the main ingredient in such a product was Estonian-sourced. Fifty-one percent said the label had an influence on their shopping decisions.

But 41 percent said, incorrectly, that products bearing a clover icon were necessarily Estonian-sourced. The clover symbol in fact denotes quality, not origin.

The percentage of people who "always or frequently" read ingredient labels has dropped: from 50 percent in 2006 to 44 percent this year. Eighty-three percent say they read labels at least some of the time.

Of those who do read labels. 78 percent said they are interested in shelf life and best-before dates, followed by 56 percent for country of origin, 49 percent for ingredients, and 44 percent for additives.

Most (82 percent) Estonians say that they find the necessary information on product labels and trust it. But like in 2006, 71 percent say the print is too small.