It’s a matter of (mis)trust

Food safety
Build trust with customers by educating them about food safety regulations.

Three years after the passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act, nearly 75% of Americans polled believe there should be even more government oversight of food safety. That’s according to the results of a survey conducted by Harris Interactive, a Nielsen polling company. Of the 2,236 adults questioned about their feelings on food safety, 86% expressed some level of concern over food recalls.

These findings dovetail with those of Higdon Sullivan & Sink’s 2013 study, “Building Trust in What We Eat,” which found that Americans are leery of the food manufacturing industry in general, with 52% of consumers doubting that food companies are transparent about their production processes. While the report focuses on large food companies, that mistrust produces a trickle-down effect that can impact your reputation with your customers.

Investing in relationship-building, both with your customers and your suppliers can help solidify your street cred. The Higdon Sullivan & Sink report suggests these strategies for building trust.

1. Be loud and proud

Find fun ways to educate your customers about USDA and FDA food safety regulations, and make sure they know that you follow them down to the fine print. And, let them know that these government organizations support your processes.

2. Get social

An active and participatory social media presence supported by customers helps spread the word about your commitment to providing quality and safe food.

3. Engage in storytelling

Encourage your suppliers to share their world with your customers. Authentic stories about food production go a long way toward building trust and consumer confidence. If you buy local, these stories are especially effective.