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

 

Limited feed puts ewes at risk

Severe feed shortages in parts of the country mean many ewes are on a nutritional knife-edge heading into lambing and could be at risk of developing metabolic disorders.

Jack’s unique solution

Jason Jack was left with severe spinal injuries after a wakeboarding accident when he was 29, but that hasn’t stopped him getting out and about in difficult environments.

National

A ticking time bomb

Our dairy industry risks being exposed to a ‘ticking time bomb’ of unethical players unlawfully passing off New Zealand-made and…

Nervous wait for winter

The unknown of what winter will bring is very much on the mind of the Hawkes Bay Rural Support Trust…

Be careful, Potatoes NZ!

Moves by the NZ potato industry to have anti-dumping tariffs imposed on European imports could play into the hands of…

China keeps dairy prices high

Whole milk powder (WMP) prices are now sitting above pre-Covid-19 levels and New Zealand farmers can thank a resurging Chinese…

Machinery & Products

Hydrogen excavator a first

While most motive industries are focused on hybrid or EV power plants, JCB has developed the construction industry’s first hydrogen-powered…

Jack’s unique solution

Jason Jack was left with severe spinal injuries after a wakeboarding accident when he was 29, but that hasn’t stopped…

HP and digital tech combo

The latest New Holland T8 GENESIS is said to capitalise on the productive combinations of Stage V horsepower and digital…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Spell check

Your old mutt was not surprised to see the NZ Dairy Industry Awards hastily remove the title of this year’s…

About time!

Your canine crusader has been a long-time critic of NZ governments – of all stripes – who, for the past…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter