Farmers have been voted the most trusted part of the food production chain according to a new survey of more than 11,000 European consumers, including the UK. Charlotte Cunningham reports.

The 2019 EIT Food TrustTracker survey asked members of the public in 13 European countries to rate the trustworthiness of key sectors of the food industry including farmers, food manufacturers, retailers and authorities.

Farmers rated highest for trustworthiness across Europe and in the UK with a score of 4.78/7 Europe-wide and 5/7 in the UK.

Dr Anna Macready, associate professor in consumer behaviour and marketing at the University of Reading said: “The 2019 EIT Food TrustTracker does certainly provide good news for farmers in relation to the rest of the sector, but highlights that there is still a long way to go to improve trust in our food systems.

“This latest set of results confirm that openness and honesty about their industry is a critical element of developing trust, and more needs to be done by other parts of the sector such as food manufacturers and retailers to be more transparent.”

Among the results, the participants who took part in the survey felt that:

  • Farmers and food manufacturers are generally doing a good job.
  • Farmers partly listen to the public, provide some information and are somewhat open and honest.
  • Food manufacturers and authorities don’t really listen, are scarce with information and are not open nor honest about food production.
  • Retailers and authorities are generally doing a good job and are capable in their roles as food sellers and regulators.
  • Retailers partly listen to the public, provide some information and are slightly open and honest about selling food.

According to Anna, the project team want consumers to feel reassured that they have a voice, so that they can identify areas in their own lives to improve their health, wellbeing and sustainable choices. “This report is good news for food manufacturers though as it shows a clear road map for developing public trust.

“We’ve seen that members of public don’t feel listened to by organisations making the food they eat, and that there’s a lack of openness and transparency in what they do. At a time when people are more conscious than ever about the food and drink that they are consuming, the food industry has a golden opportunity to develop trust in ways that are highlighted in the report.”

Further information about the EIT Food TrustTracker is available at: