Food brands not quite in tune with consumers’ demands around trust and ethics

By David Burrows

- Last updated on GMT

KPMG and the Consumer Goods Forum polled 400 consumer goods retail and manufacturing executives from 27 countries.©iStock/jojje9999.
KPMG and the Consumer Goods Forum polled 400 consumer goods retail and manufacturing executives from 27 countries.©iStock/jojje9999.

Related tags: Good

KPMG and the Consumer Goods Forum recently polled 400 consumer goods retail and manufacturing executives from 27 countries. They’ve pulled the data for the 34% of respondents that were from the food and drink sector for FoodNavigator to analyse. 

The overall trends have been reported here​, but now we have dug a little deeper into the sections relating to trust, food safety and the environment. Here are five things we’ve learned.

1. Doing good is seen as a bit of a drag

Asked how the pressure for greater ethical and environmental responsibility will affect their businesses in the next two years, almost a third (30%) said not at all. However, more (37%) believe it will have a negative impact than a positive one (27%).

This doesn’t mean they aren’t taking action, though. Six in ten (60%) have had some or moderate success in this area, whilst 40% said they’ve achieved considerable or significant success. But is it worth it?

2. Brands don’t think customers care

ecology environment footprint sustainability iStock.com Petmal
Only 35% of respondents felt that customers are making decisions based on ethical or environmental considerations.©iStock/PetMal

Only a third or so (35%) of respondents felt that customers are making decisions based on ethical or environmental considerations, with more than one in four (26%) actually suggesting that customers couldn’t care less. But they do (or at least half do) – CGF and KPMG also quizzed 7,100 consumers and 51% said that they do think about ethics and the environment when they buy goods.

Whether this means firms are out of kilter with consumer trends is a moot point: what consumers say and what they actually do can be very different​.

3. Take a look at transparency

Another area where the CGF/KPMG data picked up differences between what companies think customers want and what customers actually want is product information.

Of all 400 respondents, just 45% said customers demand transparent product information. Amongst those in food and drink it was slightly higher (53%), but still way behind what customers told researchers – 77% saw it as a priority. In fact, it was the​ top priority, beating better in-store (67%) and online experiences (76%).

4. Distrust of big brands isn’t rising

The research also assessed whether consumers have become more distrustful of big brands. Only 17% of consumers said they have, compared to 27% of food and drink executives who felt suspicions of the largest companies was on the rise.

That means quite a few food brands (42%) felt that distrust isn’t increasing. Indeed, 78% said they have achieved moderate or considerable success in this area – higher than the 67% of all respondents who felt this way.

5. Forget what you thought about building trust

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Ensuring food and product safety was key to building trust with consumers.©iStock

How can brands keep this distrust at bay? Unsurprisingly, the protection of consumer data and secure payment transactions came out top for consumers (53%) but ensuring food and product safety wasn’t far behind (43%). Some 44% of brands in the food and drink sector said this was a top five priority for them, too.

However, there was a discrepancy in relation to the importance of promoting health and wellness: it came well down the priority list for consumers (24%) but 43% of food and drink executives felt it was one of the five best strategies in building trust. It was a similar story for CSR programmes – 32% of business executives stated they key to building trust, but just 16% of consumers felt the same way.

Related topics: Sustainability, Market Trends

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1 comment

Mr

Posted by Tekedis G.John,

Perfect!

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