Friday, 30 August 2019 11:55

The battle for trust

Written by  Peter Burke
Tim Hunt. Tim Hunt.

With distrust growing in consumers, even for science, gaining their trust is now more valuable to win than ever.

Tim Hunt, the head of RaboResearch Food and Agribusiness in Australasia, says trust is becoming more complex to succeed in and more valuable to win because of what is happening in New Zealand’s markets. 

He says in emerging markets, such as China and Southeast Asia, consumers are placing enormous value on the safety of products, whereas in western markets they increasingly value sustainability, animal welfare, fairness and provenance.

“The problem with both those sets of attributes is that they are not self evident when the consumer is buying the product,” Hunt said. 

“They cannot tell if there is a problem with the food safety until after they have bought it. Or they can’t tell if the animals on a farm are treated well or whether the producers were treating the environment well. 

“In order to tap into these consumers and get the premium that is opening up for those attributes there is a need to establish trust.” 

And a further complication is a recent loss of trust by society, in general, in governments, regulators, churches and large corporations, Hunt says. 

For example, Monsanto insists glyphosate is safe if used correctly and there is lots of science on it.

“Consumers are saying ‘we don’t trust Monsanto and the scientists who did the research and we don’t trust the regulator who is supposed to keep us safe from it’,” he says.

Online selling and traceability technology have also had an impact and Hunt says NZ needs to keep up to speed on this and tell our story before others start doing this for us. 

For example, in Australia a consumer advocacy group has developed a phone app which is influencing consumer behaviours, Hunt says.

“That app enables you to scan the top of an egg carton [to learn] the stocking density of the hens that laid those eggs... and whether the hens are truly free range or not. And it urges you to photograph the... image and send it via social media to all your friends.

“It’s a big issue having a big impact on sales of different types of free range eggs.... If we don’t move fast with technology, others will do it and write the rules and the story for us.”

More like this

Strong year for all but dairy

While dairy faces another tough year, Rabobank foresees a generally strong year ahead for most other agricultural sectors.

Featured

 

Change of tune needed

OPINION: It has been some weeks since we have had to face the ideological rhetoric, in any quantity, that has pervaded our lives for much of the last three years – and I haven’t missed it one bit!

Farmers adapt well to new sales model

Fonterra’s rural service subsidiary, Farm Source says farmer shareholders are adapting well to its new trading model under COVID-19 restrictions. 

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Flying high

This old mutt would like to know how the sanctimonious Green Party and its MPs can continue to lecture everyone…

Put it down

Your canine crusader notes that the woke folk at Landcorp – sorry Pāmu – were recently crowing about recording a…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter

Popular Reads

Rules driving farmers out

New farming rules around sustainability are driving elderly farmers out of the dairy industry, says agri-economist Phil Journeaux.