Industry needs to work harder to rebuild consumer trust

Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD) chief executive Joanne Denney-Finch has told industry leaders this week that the food and consumer goods business had never been under more scrutiny.

Speaking to 650 delegates at the IGD’s annual convention, she said the needed “a revolution in transparency and traceability” to build trust to higher levels than before the horsemeat contamination incident earlier this year.

“Trust has been picking up since horsemeat, but we’re under more scrutiny than ever,” she said. “It’s vital that we now lead a revolution in transparency and traceability. It won’t be easy and it will take time, but it’s the biggest opportunity of a generation.”

IGD ShopperVista research unveiled at the event showed that 56% of shoppers – up from 34% in 2011 – want to know more about where their food comes from. Currently only 12% feel they know “quite a lot” about the origin of their food.

Denney-Finch continued: “We have a great opportunity to close that gap. And people’s expectations are already high. Eight in 10 shoppers believe that food and grocery companies should know where every single ingredient comes from.”

She added that traceability and transparency shouldn’t be seen as overheads, but rather as an investment: “Whenever we’re transparent it shows that we are confident. As we should be – what we sell has never been safer, more reliable, better quality or better value. I’ve visited hundreds of farms, factories, distribution centres and stores around the world, so I know first-hand. The people and companies with integrity will prevail.”

For the full text of Joanne’s speech, click http://igd.com/Media/IGD-speaks/Traceability-transparency-and-trust/

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