The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and The Center for Food Integrity (CFI) have partnered to create what they say is a new culture of transparency in the food system as a means of building consumer trust and promoting a deeper connection to food. Consolidating research the two groups conducted separately, FMI and CFI have released the white paper Transparency Roadmap for Food Retailers: Strategies to Build Consumer Trust. It offers guidance for food retailers and their supplier partners to provide shoppers with clear information about their food.
“In an age when information flows freely from trustworthy and some not-so-trustworthy sources, food consumers simply want balanced, credible information regarding the products in the supermarket,” said David Fikes, VP, FMI communications and consumer/community affairs. “Grocers who provide easy access to clear information the shopper wants will be rewarded by a shift in consumer perception, moving from being a simple purveyor of food to a trusted ally in the shopper’s food experience.”
FMI is partnering with CFI to develop a transparency index, based on consumer transparency expectations, that will provide retailers with a tool for assessing how well they have integrated transparency into their cultures and operations, as well as specific research-based guidance to enhance transparency.
In developing the index, CFI identified six transparency areas that are priorities for consumers:
1. Impact of food on health
2. Food safety
3. Impact on environment
4. Labor and human rights
5. Treatment of animals raised for food
6. Business ethics in food production
“Consumers hold food manufacturers and farmers chiefly responsible for transparency, CFI has found; however, food retailers are increasingly in the spotlight as they place more focus on their own brands and private label products,” said Charlie Arnot, CFI CEO. “Trust-building transparency is no longer optional, but rather a basic consumer expectation.”
The release of Transparency Roadmap for Food Retailers: Strategies to Build Consumer Trust and its outline of actionable steps and resources is the first phase of a multi-year effort by FMI and CFI.
The Center for Food Integrity is a nonprofit organization that aims to help today’s food system earn consumer trust.
FMI advocates on behalf of the food retail industry, which employs nearly 5 million workers and represents a combined annual sales volume of almost $800 billion. FMI member companies operate nearly 33,000 retail food stores and 12,000 pharmacies.