Is Transparency Enough to Solve the Trust Issue?

Boy with glasses.jpg

Transparency is currently a big deal for consumers and as a result has become a strategic priority for many food providers. We're starting to see more openness around what's in food products, how they are made and where they come from. Some are going a step further, taking an educational approach and providing a rationale for why different ingredients are used and what their function is. 

This is positive - consumers appreciate more information when they seek it out.

However, the aim of being more transparent is to generate greater levels of consumer trust, and trust arises not only by being rational - it also requires an emotional connection. 

Values Drive Trust

Work by the Center for Food Integrity has found that when it comes to generating trust, communicating with values is 3-5 times more effective than communicating with facts alone. If trust is the goal, listing your ingredients and their functions is a good start, but communicating with values will help you reach your goal faster and more effectively. 

What are Your Food Values?

While most food businesses have corporate values, and often invest significantly in understanding consumer values, fewer have their own unique set of food values. 

Food values are statements and commitments that help communicate to consumers what your company or brand believes about its food, the food system that sits behind it, the approach to marketing and labeling and the role your food plays to enhance consumers lives and the life of the community in which you operate. 

Developing, executing and demonstrating these values in the market place provides significant opportunities for building and maintaining long term consumer trust.

Develop Your Food Values

I was asked recently when explaining this idea to a colleague, 'so what exactly is a food value?'. If you are asking this question too, here is an example from Sweet Earth Natural Foods, a US company that grew to $20 million in sales five years after launch. Their food values are clear statements that outline what their commitments are in relation to the production of their food, with examples as follows: 

  • Honour and sustain the land
  • Cultivate a curious mind and palate
  • Sustain a healthy body

These values help drive consumer trust which in turn drives consistent sales growth.

A set of food values, or a 'food philosophy' that incorporates what you believe about your food enables clarity in decision making, increases brand engagement and provides a reason for consumers to maintain their loyalty. It can also provide a greater sense of purpose, in turn leading to greater staff engagement, productivity and commitment to your business.

If developing your food philosophy is of interest to your business, a workshop program designed to facilitate this process will be of value. For further information go to my workshops page.