Increasing consumer trust and support for the food supply chain and for food companies

Project coordinators:  Professor Tiziana Andina (University of Turin), Professor Anna Maglietta (University of Turin)
Year: 2020

Acvity Description for public dissemination

This consumer-focused project will work with consumers, food companies and other stakeholders (industry bodies, non-governmental organisations, regulatory authorities and policy makers, media) across 6 countries in Europe and Israel to co-create and implement selected measures undertaken by food companies, food industry and others to engender both greater consumer trust in food and greater support for food companies and other food chain actors. It will provide forums and a platform to allow consumers to voice their concerns and wishes regarding trust in the food they eat and in the companies and others involved in the provision of that food. These forums and platform will enable consumers and food industry representaves to directly debate those issues and to explore co-design of a series of initiatives for food companies to implement according to consumers’ needs which will both increase their trust in food and their support for the companies and organisations involved. The project will make use of previous and current work on consumer trust within EIT Food (e.g. from TrustTracker®) and external to it and learn from food-related consumer conversations across social media. Lessons learnt will be communicated widely and successful initiatives (as assessed by consumers) will be publicized and rolled out by food companies and organisations more widely. Consumers will drive the process at each stage, from voicing concerns and co-design of initiatives to evaluation of success.

Proposal Synopsis

The ultimate aim of the project is to engender greater consumer trust in food, the food supply chain and its actors, and to increase support for food organizations and their activies. This will be achieved by undertaking a series of activies according to a well-tested approach, called Relate (Money et al 2012, 2017) which was developed by Henley Business School in the UK and has been used successfully with a range of companies and industries including Unilever, Shell, the John Lewis Partnership and others. The outcome will be 1) the provision of a sustainable platform for continued consumer and food industry communication and engagement 2) a comprehensive profiling of consumers concerns and wants in relation to trust, together with a mapping of food industry and broader stakeholder perspectives 3) consumer-centric co-design of innovative but practical ways of increasing consumer trust and support across the food chain 4) uptake and implementation of these measures by a range of food organizations across 6 countries in Europe and Israel 5) comprehensive evaluation of their success 6) communication of lessons learnt and successes through case study narratives and messaging and 7) roll out of successful interventions more widely across food industry.The benefits will include (i) enhanced engagement and communication between consumers and food industry beyond that currently achieved (ii) a series of innovative, practical, consumer-driven interventions to improve consumer trust and support of food industry. The project will consist of ten stages: 1. A consolidation and analysis of existing information in relation to consumer trust in food, and a stock-take of existing initiatives by food industry to engender greater trust and support;

2. Giving consumers a voice and an opportunity to be listened to via a number of vehicles including a purpose-built communications platform, focus groups, consumer panels and crowd ideation 3. Idenfication and mapping of all groups/stakeholders involved (including NGOs, regulators, food industry bodies, media) and the issues they identify in relation to consumer trust in food; 4. Putting consumers and food companies/stakeholders in touch through open and mediated physical (e.g. workshops) and internet-based forums; 5. Idenfying gaps between consumers and food industry/other stakeholder perspectives and concerns; 6. Bringing consumers and food industry together to co-design innovative initiatives to increase consumer trust and support (with an EIT Food competion for most innovative initiative); 7. Idenfication of short list of best initiatives; 8. Implementation of initiatives within food companies (5 partner companies initially then expanding to 20+) 9. Monitor and evaluate performance – improve initiatives where needed;10. Communication and roll out to wider food industry. Public and food industry communication will run throughout the project with media involvement.


006 – UniversidadAutonoma de Madrid Consumer/stakeholder engagement (Task 2) and Relate (Task 3) activities in Spain. Liaisonwith Spanish food companies/organizations. Working In partnership with AZTI and CSIC
007-AZTI Lead stock-take (Task 1). Consumer/stakeholder engagement and Relate activities in Spain inpartnership with Universidad Autonoma de Madrid
011- CSJC Consumer/stakeholder engagement and relate activities in Spain in partnership with AZTI andUniversidad Autonoma de Madrid.
016- EUFIC Lead communications {Task 4) and broad involvement across Tasks 2 and 3
020 – Grupo AN Lead on primary producer perspective and engagement within-company implementation ofco-designed initiatives and Company Champion.
030 – PepsiCo Lead food manufacturer perspective and engagement within -company implementation of co-designed initiatives to increase consumer trust and Company  Champion.
034 – Queen’sUniversity Belfast Consumer/stakeholder engagement and relate activities in the UK – Northern lrelandperspective and liaison with food companies in Northern hem lreland.
039- Sodexo Load food service company perspective and engagement. within-company implementation ofco-designed initiatives to increase consumer trust and Company Champion. Sodexo wants tocontribute funding in kind lo the project (estimated at 30,000 euros) and does not want abudget allocation for the project.
040 – Strauss Group Load food service company perspective and engagement in lsrael. within-companyimplementation of co-designed initiatives to increase consumer trust and Company Champion
042 – Tachnlon Consumer/stakeholder engagement and Relate aclivi ies in lsrael (Tasks 2 and 3) plus broadlnvolvement across tasks. Worklng closely with
044 – University ofHelsinki Lead for consumar engagement (Task 2). Relate activlties In Flnland (Task 3) plus broadinvolvement across tasks. Worklng closely wlth VTT
046 – University ofReadlng Project tead and coordination. Leed of Relate Reletionship Management (Task 3)
University of Turin Consumer/stekeholder engagement and Relate Relalionship Management activities in ltaly(Tasks 2 and 3) plus broad invotvemant across tasks
048 – Unlversity ofWarsaw Consumer/stakeholder engagement and Relate activities in Poland (Tasks 2 and 3) plus broadlnvolvement across tasks.
050- VTT TechnicalResearch Centra   ofFinland Technical input lo Task 2 in relation to communication platform. Will work closely withHelsinki across tasks.
509 – DouxMatok Lead food technology ingredlents company perspective and engagement in lsrael. Wllhirt-company lmplementatlon of co-designed inltlatlves to increase consumar trust end CompanyChamplon