Sustainability is playing a role in brand trust

A new study on trusted brands highlights the importance of sustainability if companies want to earn the trust of consumers, according to the Center for Food Integrity.

The inaugural Most Trusted Brands report from Morning Consult featured nearly 17,000 interviews per brand for 2,000 brands.

Roxi Beck, director of consumer engagement with the Center for Food Integrity, says consumers are considering sustainability when they buy products.

“They’re absolutely thinking through not only the nuts and bolts of taste, price, and convenience, but also ethically sustainability,” she says. “

The report found that four legacy brands- Hersey, Cherrios, M&Ms, and Campbell’s Soup- made the top 10 for Baby Boomers, but not many made the same list for younger generations. For Generation X, only two of those brands made the top ten list, one brand made the millennial list, and no food brands made the Gen Z list.

“These legacy brands are losing influence with the next generation of consumers that are coming up because they have different preferences in how they look at and make their purchasing decisions,” she says.

Beck says a challenge with the increased interest in sustainability is the adoption of a process or practice without considering the impact it could have on the food system.

The push for slower growing broiler chickens is an example…

“If you look at the information from the National Chicken Council, they point out that it’s something you can do but it means significantly more time on the farm for these birds,” she says. “There’s going to be a need for more water, more feed, and fuel consumption, so you’re going to have an increase on the energy side and more waste.”

She says a process to consider these tradeoffs is to set priorities, conduct a comprehensive assessment, and communicate why a decision was made.

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Audio: Roxi Beck, The Center for Food Integrity

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