Who do you trust to facilitate transparency?

We talk a lot about transparency, but attaining true transparency in the beef business is difficult. It boils down to trust.

Nevil Speer

October 18, 2018

2 Min Read
Who do you trust to facilitate transparency?

The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) recently released a new report titled, The Transparency Imperative:  Product Labeling from the Consumer Perspective. As the title implies, the survey report provides insight into consumer perspectives around various issues and complexities associated with food transparency. 

FMI notes that, “Seemingly all of a sudden, consumers began to demand more information about their food products. This has caught the attention of food retailers, suppliers and other stakeholders.” The research is based on an online survey of 2,022 randomly-sampled grocery shoppers 18 years of age or older.  

Clearly, this is an important topic, especially as the beef industry increasingly grapples with traceability. Most notably, what are the implications of greater supply chain traceability and transparency in terms of beef demand and relationship with consumers? There are any number of key findings within the report that may help answer some of those questions. As such, Industry At A Glance will focus on the FMI report over the coming weeks. 

This week’s graph highlights the issue of responsibility and trust with respect to transparency. That is, the graph highlights consumer responses regarding who they perceive being responsible for facilitating greater transparency.


Interestingly enough, consumers seemingly perceive that responsibility to largely rest upon manufacturers and governmental agencies. However, when it comes to the question of being a trusted source of information about food (where it’s from, how it was produced), farmers and ranchers are the clear winners.  

FMI explains it this way: “Many shoppers also see farmers as being at least partially responsible for providing product information (92%) but not completely responsible (48%).  However, farmers are almost universally trusted as providers of product information (96%).”  

How do you perceive the relationship between responsibility and trust as it relates to food transparency? What’s your assessment of the general trend regarding transparency and traceability for the beef industry in coming years? What’s your perception of the importance of greater transparency to beef demand? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. 

Nevil Speer serves as an industry consultant and is based in Bowling Green, KY. Contact him at [email protected].

About the Author(s)

Nevil Speer

Nevil Speer serves as an industry consultant and is based in Bowling Green, KY.

Nevil Speer has extensive experience and involvement with the livestock and food industry including various service and consultation projects spanning such issues as market competition, business and economic implications of agroterrorism, animal identification, assessment of price risk and market volatility on the producer segment, and usage of antibiotics in animal agriculture.
Dr. Speer writes about many aspects regarding agriculture and the food industry with regular contribution to BEEF and Feedstuffs.  He’s also written several influential industry white papers dealing with issues such as changing business dynamics in the beef complex, producer decision-making, and country-of-origin labeling.
He serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the National Institute for Animal Agriculture.
Dr. Speer holds both a PhD in Animal Science and a Master’s degree in Business Administration.

Contact him at [email protected].

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