“Transparency” has been the buzzword the last few months of 2015. More food companies are implementing transparent initiatives in response to lack of consumer trust, as evident in recent industry studies.
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For example, Trace One’s “Global Consumer Food Safety and Quality” survey of over 3,000 shoppers across nine countries found that only 12% of consumers wholeheartedly trust the safety of the private and national food brands and only 10% trust the quality. Furthermore, 27% of consumers do not even trust the information printed on the product labels.
The majority of respondents (91%) also said it’s important to them to know where their food comes from, but 62% said they’re not provided with enough information about what’s in their food and its origins.
“Consumers are demanding more information and want reassurances that the foods they’re eating are safe—and originating from reliable sources,” says Chris Morrison, CMO, Trace One. “Brands that go above and beyond to share accurate and reliable product information with consumers will ultimately be rewarded with increased consumer trust.”
The Center for Food Integrity (CFI) also released its latest research, “A Clear View of Transparency and How it Builds Consumer Trust,” which proved that increasing transparency in farming, food production, and processing will increase consumer trust.
The online survey of 2,000 people revealed the practices that consumers ranked as important in demonstrating transparency, which include providing information on product labels, offering engagement opportunities through company websites, and making results of third-party audits publicly available.
And when asked to choose between food companies, farmers, grocery stores, or restaurants, which did respondents hold most responsible for transparency? Food companies.
“This study clearly shows consumers hold food companies most responsible for demonstrating transparency…” says Charlie Arnot, CEO, CFI. “Even when it comes to on-farm animal care, an area one might assume people look to farmers to provide, consumers told us food companies are most responsible. This could lead to food companies requiring more information from their suppliers and reporting more information to consumers when it comes to the treatment of animals raised for food.”
Transparency of food ingredients, origins, and production processes is no longer optional. If you haven’t yet implemented transparent initiatives, perhaps it’s time to make this your New Year’s resolution.