The majority of Americans surveyed by a Wall Street food industry analyst say they are becoming more distrustful of the food system.

“We seem to be at a tipping point in the food industry as an increasing number of people are becoming more distrustful of the food system,” wrote Alexia Howard, a stock analyst at Sanford Bernstein, which this week released a proprietary survey of 838 U.S. consumers.

Fifty-five percent of consumers agreed that they are becoming more distrustful of the food system, up from 48 percent in 2013, the last time Sanford Bernstein did such a survey.

The finding parallels a 10 percentage point increase -- to 69 percent -- in consumers concerned about food safety issues such as salmonella and listeria, according to the Bernstein survey. 

“Barely a week goes by without some form of recall being announced by the (U.S. Food and Drug Administration),” Howard wrote. “Already this year we have had more than 60 different food-related recalls in the U.S. alone.”

The Bernstein survey also queried consumers about the importance they assigned to 20 health and wellness food categories. Protein topped the list, with 63 percent of consumers saying it was important, up from 59 percent in 2013.

Compared to 2013, consumers also placed a higher priority on food that was free of genetically-modified organisms and antibiotics and hormones.

Forty-six percent of consumers saw GMO-free as an important health concern, up from 42 percent in 2013, while 56 percent identified antibiotic and hormone free as important, up from 51 percent.

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