Inside the Consumer State of Mind: Insights from Trust Barometer & What it Means for the Retail RD

Inside the Consumer State of Mind: Insights from Trust Barometer & What it Means for the Retail RD

August 22, 2018
Retail Industry Insights

The way in which consumers digest news and make purchasing decisions is largely impacted by the political landscape, media headlines, and world events. As a retail dietitian, it is important to understand the consumer state of mind to communicate effectively and create successful promotional programs. 

Edelman, a leading global communications marketing firm, conducts an annual trust and credibility survey known as the Trust Barometer.1 The findings shed light on consumers’ trust in business, government, media, and specifically, the food and beverage sector. Responses from the survey are divided into those from the informed public and general population. The informed public represents 15% of the global population and consists of college educated adults, ages 25-64 that are higher income and engage in media and business news, whereas the general population represents the remaining 85% of the global population. The results outlined in this article are primarily reflective of the U.S. population. 

This year’s findings show that overall trust in the food and beverage industry in the U.S. declined by 20 points to 62% among the informed public and four points to 69% among the general population. Overall trust in U.S. brands, including consumer packaged goods, fashion, technology, health care, and more, declined by five points to 50%.

When you take a closer look into the food and beverage segment, the data indicates that grocery stores, supermarkets, and food retailers remain a trusted source among the U.S. general population (75%). Globally, people are also increasingly turning to expert sources for information. Among these voices of authority, credentialed experts are most trusted at 63% and overtime, employees of companies have risen as voices of authority. This is good news for the retail dietitian. As credentialed experts that are employed by supermarkets and grocery stores, retail dietitians are valuable assets, and not just for educating on healthy choices, but also as trusted voices that can influence the purchasing habits of customers and enhance the credibility of the retailer.   

The survey also sheds light on key insights that could be helpful for in-store samplings, demos, classes, tours, and overall messaging with customers. Among the general population, trust in farming and fishery (72%), food and beverage manufacturers (69%), and brewing and spirits (70%) remains high. Although there are a number of sources for food and nutrition information these days, people continue to trust nutrition and health newsletters as well as newspaper stories, columns, radio shows, and tv news for information to help them make food and beverage choices.  

What does this mean for retail promotions? As credentialed experts in the retail space, dietitians are well-positioned to build trust among brands and products that provide health benefits to consumers. Collaborating with commodity boards that represent a farmed product (i.e., fruits, vegetables, nuts, dairy, etc) may resonate well with customers and contribute to the success of a promotion. Communication tactics such as newsletters and coverage through local media outlets can still be effective ways for the retail dietitian to communicate to customers. 

California Walnuts is one example of a commodity board that partners with retail dietitians to support retail promotions as well as provides resources such as recipes, handouts, social content, and health research. More than 99% of the walnuts in U.S. are grown in California’s Central Valley, home to 4,800+ growers that are represented by California Walnuts. There are many companies that sell California-grown walnuts, in branded, as well as private label packaging, which provides flexibility to the retailer as well as the customer. 

For more information about partnership opportunities and free resources from California Walnuts, click here

1 Daniel J Edelman. (2018). 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer Global Report