Food is a deeply personal thing for consumers. It is how we provide for those we care about, it is part of our culture and celebrations, and it is woven into almost every aspect of our lives. Despite food being safer, more available and more affordable than ever before, consumer trust in the food and beverage industry is at an all-time low. Consumers have a bias against size and view the industry as a larger institution.
Food and beverage manufacturers need to create shared values with consumers. Shared values are 3-5 times more important than sharing facts or demonstrating technical skills or expertise when building trust. Food and beverageorganizations need to start considering if they should ethically do something rather than if they can do something from an economic and scientific standpoint. Organizations must also proactively lay the foundation for transparency to help consumers build confidence in the industry.
But it’s not enough to do the right thing; the industry needs to communicate their actions and engage with their consumers. Food and beverage manufacturers can meaningfully engage with consumers by remembering that who you are matters just as much as what you know. Consumers can connect with individuals, not large institutions, and they want information from academics, not a slew of academic information. Commit to engaging early, often, and consistently to start your journey towards consumer trust.