Our Moment Of Truth

Chris Crocker
Trust is an essential driver of today’s consumer decisions. In his Super Session presentation at the 2018 Winter Fancy Food Show, Dave Donnan of A.T. Kearney shared that 55 percent of Americans have very little or no confidence in big business or big brands. That research reflects a 19 percent drop in just five years.

Confidence in big brands was driven by the idea that they got big by being good. They got bigger by being big: They had the power to build perceptions through advertising ... around being good for you, around being cool, around teaching the world to sing. They dominated our awareness, they choked out challenger brands in media, on the supermarket shelves, and in regulatory efforts.

As consumers of a certain generation, we bought what we were programmed to buy: Reliability, consistency, conformity, popularity. 
Our kids, not so much. Unfettered access to information has eroded trust in authority. “Because I said so” is a parental statement that today falls on deaf ears.

Enter the specialty food trade, an industry of upstarts, counter-culturalists, and artisans who have been swimming upstream for decades. We finally have our opening. New paths to market have emerged. To try something new is not dangerous. To be different is to be normal. Buying small is good. Heck, even the big brand owners are pretending to be small.

Today, the provenance of what people eat affects what they buy ... and how they feel about what they eat. And that is creating opportunity for the specialty food industry—if we listen to the demand of the consumer.

We are at risk when we address opportunity with opportunism. Tissue-thin or wholly invented origin stories, marginal health claims, and thready cause marketing promises are inevitable in this business environment. But the market will reward a pattern of transparency, not deception. Trust is no longer implicit, it is earned.

Tell us what you think--weigh in on the Q&A Forum.
Posted by Denise Purcell on May 8, 2018 11:00 AM America/New_York