Trust in food industry declining

24 May 2024

Trust in the food industry is on the decline among consumers. Sustainability concerns are a key factor. As reported by FoodNavigator Europe, a survey conducted by the EIT Food Consumer Observatory found that only 36% of consumers feel that their dietary choices are sustainable. The entire lifecycle of food, from production and transport to consumption and waste, is responsible for about one-third of all human-generated greenhouse gases, contributing to the worsening of climate change.

Another reason for concern is that only 44% believe the foods they are consuming are healthy. For example, consumers are concerned about the health implications of consuming ultra processed foods.

Furthermore, there is a noticeable distrust towards the food sector’s competency, transparency, and care. Only 38% believe food manufacturers are attentive to their concerns, and just 37% regard them as open and truthful about their food processing and sales practices.

If the food and beverage industry want to restore the trust of consumers, they must show that they are acting in the public interest. This could be done through communication or through the help of national governments. The countries could address contentious issues such as shrinkflation which makes a product smaller whilst keeping the price the same.

Klaus Grunert, a marketing professor at Aarhus University and head of the consumer observatory, emphasised the necessity for collaboration between the food sector and consumers. He advocates for improved information sharing and the availability of options that support diets which are not only healthy and nutritious but also sustainable, affordable, and accessible to all.

SAFE believes this decline in trust among consumers is concerning and it is doing its best to protect consumers and ensure a safer food environment in Europe.