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How does the food industry regain consumer trust of food processing?
What does the food industry need to do to regain the upper hand regarding the trust of consumers? Anti- food processing growing stronger each year and threatens to create a non-sustainable food production scenario where expectations cannot be fulfilled.
Current trend is unfortunately not going to change unless consumers are reassured about processed food in an objectoive and reliable way. Everywhere, even in emerging markets, consumers are more conscious of what they eat and drink, from younger age. They want to know where tge ingredients come from, they start buying only items in season, they read labels, they want to understand what are the benefits, they read more and google more.
So all these media and communication channels need to be used to influence them otherwise, in a simple and uncompromising way. truth, depth and consistency will be critical. Sponsors and testimonials may not be as effective anymore- consumers want to understand from themselves and be the decision makers.
Very good question bringing together the food processing and sustainability of food production.
Sustainable development from a business perspective is defined as ‘meeting the needs of the business
without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’.
Issues relating to sustainable living and production systems are important topics that are driven
mainly by economic, social, environmental and political factors. As the global food consumption
continues to increase because of the rapid growth in the global population and increasing affluence
in emerging economies such as China and India, global resources such as energy and water are being
consumed quickly and arable land utilised at an alarming rate. If this trend continues, our society
will not be sustainable and future generations will not be able to enjoy the standard of living that
we enjoy today. From a simplistic point of view, businesses could be sustainable by reducing the
ecological footprint by reducing the amount of resources that are used, the waste that is generated
and the amount of emissions produced. However, the business systems are complex and in order
for the whole food supply chain to sustainable, it is important to understand the impact of food
processing on the input side (raw material production, storage and distribution) and the output side
(finished product storage, distribution, retailing and the consumer).
For me we need to go back to simlicity - we have raised the bar by giving great expectations on efficiency, high yields, extending shelf life, creating quality attribute sheets which need to deliver top quality products sometimes really hard to achieve therefore increasing the waste and bringing the cycle from the above abstract to a vicious circle which is very difficult to get out from. The addition of processed ingredients - emulsifiers, enzymes, humectants, preservatives, acids, concentrates...We have changed our perception to food being cheep, but ready to pay more for mobile phones, cars, fancy clothes. Bringing the clean label and organic food back will make processes easier, increase the competition aoround the food industry but also increase the price of our food. Some countries being classified as poorer developed countries even do not have the "organic food" terminology as it is really expensive to process the food to an extent where we almost produce Frankenstain end products.
Transparancy and clear packaging is not enough. The road to building trust must be a gradual one if it's going to stick.
The way I think about gradual trust is like this...
gradual trust, and the formulation looks like this:
Gradual Trust = (Reliability + Delight) x Consistency
Let’s dissect the formula and look at each part individually…
Reliability - This is table stakes.
Does your product actually work?
Does it do what you said it would?
If you don’t have a solid product that does not deliver results you’ve got more work to do on the core product itself. No amount of anything can mask a bad product.
Delight - This is the level of happiness your customers naturally have with your product.
If the customer is not happy with the initial product it does not matter how much more you give them. Your initial impression has tarnished any hope of delighting them.
Consistency - Has the experience and communication with buying from you, both during and after, been the same?
This includes up-selling as well as shipment and receiving of the actual product. This sets the stage for the coming relationship. Is the messaging and expectation at each step consistent with their initial engagement?
Consistency is a multiplier here, meaning it amplifies both reliability and delight. It can be a breaking point or a strengthening step in the trust building journey.
Fundmentally Gradual Trust Is A Choice...
Gradual trust is the fundamental driver of long term success. Especially in the case of buying a health product.
Gradual trust can happen or more importantly happens to the detriment of many businesses whether you’re actively crafting it into your customer’s journey or not. They are either going to grow to trust you and strengthen the relationship in spite of you, or you can choose to build that trust slowly after the sale to create a sustainable recurring long term successful business. The choice is yours.