According to a survey by the International Food Information Council (IFIC), 24% of US consumers indicated in 2020 that “food handling/food preparation related to risk of COVID-19” was their biggest concern. However, 2 in 3 US consumers were at least somewhat confident in the safety of the US food supply chain. What is notable in this survey is confidence declines, as consumers age declines, down to only 56% for people under the age of 35.1
Consequences of this perception can include consumers rejecting certain types of products and seeking out alternative (sometimes unreliable) sources of information to learn more about their food. Here we outline the top strategies for building trust with consumers.
Why Trust Matters
Since most people in this country rely on the food industry to produce all of their food, it can be easy to overlook consumer opinions and feelings about the food industry as a whole. After all, what other choice do they have? But trust is essential to creating long-term brand loyalty. And winning consumers’ trust gives companies a competitive edge.
Eight Ways To Win Their Hearts
Fortunately, there are a variety of strategies that food and beverage companies can use to connect or reconnect with consumers:
1. Have Values
A company or brand with a declared mission statement or commitments to things like sustainable sourcing, a living wage, charitable giving, zero food waste, or fair trade ingredients should spread the word—on the company website, social media, and product packaging.
2. Make Healthy Products
Revised nutrition label regulations put a spotlight on the nutrition label a few years ago. Changes such as new mandatory label nutrients and identifying added sugars shifted how brands communicated the healthfulness of their products on the label. A company that consistently makes healthy products (or at least better-for-you products) shows consumers that they care about them and their health. Efforts to formulate great tasting foods with less sugar, more fiber, and plenty of vitamins and minerals won’t go unnoticed.
3. Transparency in Sourcing
Sharing information about where ingredients are produced, whether the geographical region or the farm itself, makes consumers more comfortable with your products. Companies using blockchain technology to let consumers trace their food back to the source farm have a big advantage here. But any company can showcase key suppliers on its website and Facebook page.