Over the past few years, the food industry has seen a dramatic rise in consumers’ expectations for food quality and safety. So, to learn more about our culture’s perceptions of the food industry, supply chain transparency software provider Trace One went right to the source and conducted interviews with consumers on the street.
Here’s what consumers had to say when asked about the importance of knowing the more about the food they eat:
Is it important to know where your food comes from?
Food crises and recalls are a regular topic in the media today. Additionally, social media and the Internet make this information more readily available in real-time. As a result, consumers expect more information about what’s in their food and there is a greater awareness of GMOs and allergens. If they don’t get the information they need, they can easily move onto the next brand. As seen in the video, knowing where ingredients are coming from is top of mind for consumers.
In a recent survey commissioned by Trace One, 68 percent of consumers in the US said they are not provided with enough information about what is in their food and where it comes from. In fact, the vast majority (92 percent) of consumers reported that it is somewhat or very important to know where their food is coming from. Despite the overwhelming desire to know where their food comes from, more than one-fifth (21 percent) of consumers said they are not at all knowledgeable about where their food comes from. This shows an obvious gap in information consumers want to learn from manufacturers and retailers.
Being transparent throughout the manufacturing process ensures consumers are getting the information they desire. Transparency also builds trust with consumers, as it shows food manufacturers and retailers have nothing to hide about ingredients and where they are sourced from.
What concerns do you have about the ingredients in the food that you buy?
Whether they’re concerned about allergens or general health, consumers are paying more attention to the ingredients in the food products they buy. The beauty of complete transparency in the food supply chain is that it gives a clear picture to the consumer wherever they are looking. Food manufacturers who make it a point to be transparent will be the brands consumers want to turn to.
An interesting point brought up by one of the consumers interviewed is the importance of labeling ingredients because of dietary restrictions. Gluten-free and low-sugar diets are popular, but there are also many people who have severe allergies to these common ingredients. Clear and easy to read labels save the lives of people with severe allergies. Beyond common allergies, consumers want clear labels so they can make informed decisions and feel in control of what they put into their body.
Interestingly, Trace One’s survey found that one-third of US consumers (33 percent) said they would be willing to pay more for food with more allergen and ingredient information. What does this tell food retailers and manufacturers? Transparency matters, and many consumers are willing to pay for it. Sharing information with the consumer will only become more important, both to appeal to diverse diets and dietary restrictions and also to protect the reputation of the food industry over the long term.