If we can’t manage what we can’t measure, how do we approach the very real risk of losing public trust in how food gets grown?
“Public trust is one of those things where we don’t know the full value of it until we’ve lost it,” says Crystal MacKay, president of the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity.
Take, for example, the move by the Manitoba government several years ago to ban any new builds or expansion of the hog industry in the province. The ban lasted eight years and had an incredibly detrimental impact on not just Manitoba’s farmers, but Canada’s entire hog industry. Much of the push for the ban stemmed from a lack of public trust, with concerns around water quality at the forefront, despite scientists saying pigs were not a major contributor to the problem.
In this episode of the Mind Your Farm Business podcast series, MacKay and host Shaun Haney talk about this seemingly intangible risk — how do you take action against something as fleeting as trust?
To the good, MacKay says that we actually do have some pretty solid information on measuring our customers’ thoughts and feelings around trust, including which food products and industries are doing well, and which are perceived to be more problematic.
“Public trust is a new part of our bottomline that we all have to think about,” she says. There are so many moving parts to a food supply chain — there will be a time where something goes wrong. At that time, we don’t want to start at zero, when it comes to consumers’ trust, she adds, which is why the entire food industry needs to be working towards continual earning of the public’s trust.
Listen here for Shaun and Crystal’s discussion, including the question: Who owns the relationship with consumers?
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