KANSAS CITY, Mo.Consumers are demanding transparency from food companies regarding where their food comes from and how it is produced, according to a new whitepaper from Sullivan Higdon & Sink (SHS).
According to the “Emerging Faith in Food Production" whitepaper, about 65% of consumers want to know more about where their food comes from, but only 31% believe food companies are transparent about food production practices. In addition, 67% of consumers would like to see the food industry take more action to educate people on how food is produced.
"Food companies have the opportunity to build trust and loyalty among Americans while educating consumers on certain processes," said Erika Chance, senior FoodThink researcher. "Transparency about animal welfare, sustainable practices and fair labor practices will help to soften consumers' distrust of the food industry."
The whitepaper, built from a 2014 study, is a comparative analysis of consumers' changed food production perceptions since SHS FoodThink's white paper "Building Trust in What We Eat," based on a 2012 survey. The new data shows that the industry is moving in the right direction.
"The increase of information about food production has consumers wondering who to trust and what to believe," Chance said. "It's important, now more than ever, for food marketers to proactively pull back the curtain to educate and answer questions honestly to decrease consumer concern."
As consumers ask more questions about the foods they eat and what goes into the production process, transparency, especially among large organizations, is becoming increasingly important to the inquisitive consumer. In Food Product Design's slide show The Seven Elements of Trust-Building Transparency, the Center for Food Integrity (CFI) reveals how food companies can overcome consumer biases and skepticism.