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The Center for Food Integrity (CFI) released a new study, A Dangerous Food Disconnect: When Consumers Hold You Responsible But Don’t Trust You, that looks at some damaging statistics on the food system. First and foremost, the study revealed that 33% of consumers do not trust the food system, which is down from 47% in 2017. This is alarming and further supports the movement by food companies to be more transparent and create products with simple ingredients.
Food Companies Placed Last on List of Most Trusted Information in the Food System
The new CFI study is important because it showcases the disconnect between what consumers think and what food companies across the industry are actively doing to ease their concerns. On the list of most trusted sources for food safety information, food companies ranked dead last with food regulators taking 8th on the list, and farmers ranking 3rd on the list. Surprisingly, family and physicians ranked as the most trusted sources of food safety information.
Roxi Beck, Director of the CFI, believes food companies have to further their mission of product transparency. She suggests inviting consumers to the farms and manufacturing facilities to build more trust. She also suggests large CPG companies be wary of touting their large size and global scale as it often viewed as a warning sign to consumers today. The small brands are taking advantage of this and winning big time.
Investing in Transparency Efforts and Technology
Multiple food companies and suppliers in the food system are looking at new blockchain technology to lead the transparency effort. Companies like Cargill have tested blockchain to allow consumers to trace their Thanksgiving Turkey back to the farm it was raised on. This is a step in the right direction.
Other companies are looking for ways to better tell their brand stories to lead transparency efforts. Marketing teams across food brands are selling this hard up the ladder because they know how important trust is to purchase decisions and long-term brand loyalty. The bottom line will grow as food companies and their brand focus on building more trust with consumers.
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