Do Americans Trust the Food They Eat?


KANSAS CITY, Mo., March 25, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Only one third of consumers think the agriculture community and food companies are transparent, according to new research from Sullivan Higdon & Sink (SHS) FoodThink. The research appears in “Evolving Trust in the Food Industry,” a white paper that is intended to arm food marketers with insights into Americans' knowledge and trust of the food industry and how those perceptions have changed from 2012 to present.

“Food marketers should know that consumer perceptions of transparency in the food industry are consistently improving but there is plenty of room to grow,” said Erika Chance, senior FoodThink researcher. “The good news is that consumers are turning to food companies and grocers for more information because they do have an interest in learning more about the food they eat.”

Insights from the white paper reveal a consumer desire for more information from specific trustworthy sources:

  • 65{f75e9bc95454961d27ea60375533d5bd3793c6b31aa68057771d9b5363a8de8e} think it's important to know how their food is produced. 
  • 60{f75e9bc95454961d27ea60375533d5bd3793c6b31aa68057771d9b5363a8de8e} think farmers and ranchers are trustworthy, making them one of the most trusted sources for information on food production. 
  • Steady trend of consumers turning to these three sources since 2012: food companies, grocers and food retailers and bloggers/social media. 

“Consumers today are very perceptive and have access to more information than ever. Many are taking the initiative to read up on the issues facing food production,” said Chance. “It's important for the industry to be proactive in their efforts to help educate the public because they have the power to continue to build that trust.”

The research paper is a comparative analysis of consumers' changed food production perceptions since SHS FoodThink's white papers “Building Trust in What We Eat” (2012) and “Emerging Faith in Food Production” (2014). 

FoodThink white papers are built on proprietary research conducted in 2016 and utilize the responses from more than 2,000 U.S. consumers of diverse demographic backgrounds. 

Download a free copy of the white paper with key implications for food marketers, and follow the blog at  

Source:  Sullivan Higdon & Sink's FoodThink: Sullivan Higdon & Sink is a full-service advertising and marketing agency with a focus on food value chain marketing – promoting products all along the farm-to-table spectrum.



Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS. Small canola plants, July 1990

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