12/10/2013 at 9:18 a.m.
From the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance:
Transparency in the food industry is a growing topic of conversation and, in order to continue to effectively communicate with consumers about the food they grow and raise, the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) conducted research to hone in on the topic of food transparency, specifically how important it is to American consumers.
According to the survey, food transparency is very important. Fifty-nine percent of respondents report it is extremely important (rated it as an 8-10 on a 10 point scale) for grocery stores and restaurants to provide information about the way the food they sell is grown and raised. And over 50 percent say they want more information than they are currently getting.
The good news is that farmers and ranchers across the country have the information consumers are asking for. However, it needs to be shared.
“The call for transparency from the American consumer is real,” said Katie Pratt, an Illinois farmer and one of USFRA’s Faces of Farming and Ranching. “However, as an agriculture community, we have the tools, the real-life experiences and the stories to share with those who purchase the food we grow and raise. And we can continue to increase consumer confidence in our great systems of American agriculture.”
“Information about how a food product was grown and raised is important for consumers. It’s almost as important as the price,” said Bob Stallman, President, American Farm Bureau Federation and USFRA Chairman. “The research found that when asked which is more important when making purchasing decisions, how much a food item costs or how much information is available about how it was grown or raised, 45 percent of total survey respondents chose information and 55 percent chose cost. That is significant.”
Not only is the statistic significant, but it is not going away any time soon. In fact, the research found that younger shoppers (ages 21-29) are more likely to purchase one food item over another based on which item includes more information about its origin. And, the findings show that most consumers do not believe they are currently provided enough information about food when making purchasing
The research findings encourage a shift in how the agriculture community can think about transparency; this can happen through a transition to “Transparency 2.0.” For the American consumer, trust in the agriculture community is based in truth and all farmers and ranchers have a narrative to share. There is a truthful and transparent story to tell in how all farmers and ranchers grow and raise food.
For more information on “Transparency 2.0” and the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, as well as to join in the conversation of how food is grown and raised in the U.S. today, visit www.FoodDialogues.com
In May 2013, USFRA partnered with maslansky + partners, a communications strategy and research firm, and fielded online surveys to over one 1,000 consumers and food connectors (a sub group of consumers who are very aware of food issues and more focused on food quality than the average consumer). The margin of error was +/- 3 percent.
USFRA is a group of farmer- and rancher-led organizations and agricultural partners leading a movement to answer questions about how food is grown and raised. USFRA provides resources and tools to navigate today’s food issues landscape with a broader goal of building trust in American agriculture.