Industry At A Glance Nevil Speer

What are the most trusted sources for food-related issues?

The good news is that farmers made the list. But that bad news is they ranked below six other sources including nutrition advocacy groups, which often can be agenda-driven.

This week’s Industry At A Glance once again focuses on consumers. Following last week’s illustration that highlighted the likelihood that, “On social media, much more so than in surveys, you have a large incentive to make yourself look good. Your online presence is not anonymous, after all. You are courting an audience and telling your friends, family members, colleagues, acquaintances, and strangers who you are.”

That assessment is taken from a new book by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz:  “Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are.”

This week’s data is sourced from the Center for Food Integrity and its new research data: Inside the Mind of Influencers – The Truth About Trust. Participants were asked to respond to a list of 15 sources surrounding food-related issues. Family doctors were the most trusted source of information.

Meanwhile, the good news is that farmers made the list – but that bad news is they ranked below six other sources including nutrition advocacy groups, which often can be agenda-driven.

Nevil Speer

Also refreshing, CFI notes that, “blogger and author Vani Hari, the “Food Babe,” ranked third to last. Dr. Oz came in last.” However, “food companies and manufacturers were sandwiched in between, demonstrating that there’s work to do when it comes to earning trust.”

CFI appropriately summarizes that, “consumers access sources in different ways. Clearly, with family doctor and family, most conversations are taking place in person, whereas accessing information from other sources, like university scientists and farmers, is most likely taking place online.”

All that indicates the production sector has some work to do. And while an online presence seems to be an important venue, it’s still interpersonal communication that trumps all – especially when it comes to trust; not surprising given last week’s data.

How do you perceive the results? What should the beef industry be doing to better establish trust with consumers? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.  

Nevil Speer is based in Bowling Green, Ky., and serves as vice president of U.S. operations for AgriClear, Inc. – a wholly-owned subsidiary of TMX Group Limited. The views and opinions of the author expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the TMX Group Limited and Natural Gas Exchange Inc.

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