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Consumer trust in the food industry

According to the 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer, trust in business, media, and even NGOs suffered over the past year, leaving government as the lone institution to experience a slight uptick in public trust. Edelman surveyed 33,000 people (27,000 General Public and 6,000 Informed Public respondents) in 27 countries around the world on their trust in the institutions of government, media, business, and NGOs. During the reThink Food Conference (Nov. 6–8, 2015) sponsored by The Culinary Institute of America and the MIT Media Lab, Tish Van Dyke, global sector chair of food and beverage at Edelman, provided insights from the study and explored the key factors that increase and decrease trust when it comes to business and define a new formula for building trusted innovation.

Van Dyke revealed that the gap between the level of trust of the General Public (aged 18+, less education, and less interaction with media) and the Informed Public (aged 21+, college level education and higher, and engaged with media) is widening, with the General Public's trust level nearly 10 points below that of the Informed Public. In addition, for the first time in the 15 years conducting the survey, online search arose as the most trusted source of media. As Van Dyke explained, "Millennials are even more trusting of digital data. After all, they are the natives." When asked who their most trusted spokespeople were, the majority of respondents said friends and family, followed by an academic expert, and companies whose products they actually use.

When it comes to trust in food industry, the Barometer found that 62% of people globally trust in the food and beverage industry. Van Dyke told attendees at the conference that this number seemed high and went on to elaborate that the five segments they examined in the food and beverage industry were retailers, manufacturers, agribusiness, fast food, and farms and fishery. The majority of people fall in the middle area of trust in the food industry and the "high trusters" and "distrusters" actually make up a very small segment of the population, but can be the most vocal groups. The lowest scoring category for trust in food and beverage was the fast-food segment. On the opposite end, agribusiness and farms and fishery had the highest levels of trust. "The general consumer may not know what these actually are, or they have very idealistic visions of what these industries are doing," explained Van Dyke.

Overall, the findings show that the general population trusts the food and beverage industry significantly more than other businesses in all markets. However, as Van Dyke highlighted, "the industry is not great at talking to general consumers. They need to open the doors and let people in so they can experience what they are doing."


Saturday 28th of November 2015

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