Consumer trust has been declining in the U.S. for two decades.1 Trust in food has been a casualty of this trend – new FoodThink data reveals that just over one-half of consumers (52 percent) trust the food industry to do the right thing, and almost one-quarter (24 percent) actively distrust it.2

Some food categories, companies and institutions fair well in the trust stakes, while others require significant commitments to improving trust in order to turn perceptions around. The good news is it is possible.

The Four Building Blocks of Consumer Trust

In its latest research study of 2,123 consumers, FoodThink has uncovered four building blocks that drive consumer trust in a food brand: Purpose, Authenticity, Competency and Transparency. These building blocks pave the way to a long-term, trusting relationship between consumer and brand2

Transparency rises to the top as the most important of all four – almost three-quarters of consumers (73 percent) say “Being transparent and not trying to hide information” is extremely or very important in helping them know if a food brand is trustworthy.2 However, while consumers rate it the highest, transparency should by no means be the only thing brands focus on. Transparency will only serve a brand well if it shines a light on purpose, authenticity and competency. It is the combination of all four that moves consumers along the spectrum of trust, from transaction-based functional trust to the coveted, relationship-based emotional trust.

To learn more about PACT, including what it sounds like in consumers’ own words, download the latest FoodThink white paper:
Trust in Food. Creating Trust in an Era of Skepticism

1. Edelman Trust Barometer 2019, Gallup longitudinal study of confidence in US Institutions.
2. FoodThink from Signal Theory, 2018.

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