Study Shows Disconnect Between Food Brands and Consumers’ Demands on Trust, Food Safety

A new poll by KPMG and the Consumer Goods Forum found this disconnect by asking 400 executives from 27 countries

Flickr / Tiffany Terry / CC BY 2.0

Food businesses fight a disconnect between the opinions of executives and consumers.

According to a new study, there is a serious disconnect between food brands and consumer thinking on a variety of topics. Specifically, when it comes to trust, food safety, and the environment, the two groups don’t exactly see eye to eye.

Fifty-one percent of consumers said they thought about ethics and the environment as it related to food brands when they bought goods. Meanwhile, only 35 percent of executives thought consumers made decisions based on those grounds. In fact, one in four went so far as to suggest that customers could not care less.

Part of the reason for this response from executives comes from the negative perception of doing good. Thirty percent said an increased pressure for greater ethical and environmental responsibility would not change their businesses at all. More believed it would actually change their businesses for the worse.

So, businesses don’t want to change their ways when it comes to environmental and ethical concerns, and they pass it off as acceptable by claiming that consumers don’t care about such things. However, we do care, and as a result, we lose trust in these companies.

There is a huge issue of transparency: Only 53 percent of food and drink executives thought that consumers demanded transparent product information — again, an opinion that helps businesses’ bottom lines in avoiding transparency to cut costs. However, 77 percent of customers saw transparency as a priority—a higher percentage than any other priority, including better in-store (67 percent) and online (76 percent) experiences.

Despite these findings, distrust of big brands is not rising. Twenty-seven percent of executives thought big brand distrust was rising, but only 17 percent of consumers believed so.

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