An international report by public relations firm Edelman recently unveiled the high level of consumer trust for the food and beverage industry and the ag sector specifically, while also raising concerns about the widening trust gap between those considered informed and the mass population.
First, the business subsector of food and beverage is trusted by 66 percent of people, compared to only 52 percent trusting business as a whole. In each of the 28 countries surveyed, the food and beverage industry was more trusted by citizens compared to business, including a 15-percent advantage in the United States.
To further breakdown the populations surveyed, Edelman identified a subsector of the general population and labeled them the “informed public,” meaning they were college-educated, in the top-25 percent of household income and report significant media consumption. The remaining population was labeled the “mass population,” making up 87 percent of those surveyed.
While nearly 73 percent of the informed public trust the food and beverage industry, only 66 percent of the mass population does. This trust gap between the two groups is growing year-over-year, raising concern that the food and beverage industry is communicating with the informed public in a way that is not reaching the mass population.
The report also looks at subsectors of the food and beverage industry, including agribusiness and farming & fishery. Internationally, 66 percent trust agribusiness, a two-percent increase over the last year, and 70 percent trust farming & fishery, also a two-percent increase. Of the seven food and beverage subsectors, farming & fishery was most trusted, with agribusiness finishing third.
Looking at the informed compared to mass population, the trust level for agribusiness among the informed public was nine percentage points higher than the mass population. Farming & fishery was eight percentage points higher.
The Edelman report also unveiled the potential volatility of trust by identifying a large group of constituents as “swing trusters,” which is equivalent to on-the-fence voters in an election. This group’s trust pendulum could easily swing either way depending on the latest news story, personal experience, etc.
The food and beverage industry as a whole is comprised of 57-percent swing trusters. Agribusiness and farming & fishery are in line coming in at 56 percent and 55 percent, respectively.
American public relations firm Edelman releases the annual report titled, “The State of Trust In Today’s Global Food & Beverage Environment.” For the full report, click here.