Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Survey Shows that Many Distrust Large Food Companies More than Small

A survey conducted by the Center for Food Integrity (CFI) shows that people have more trust in smaller, more entrepreneurial companies than in larger food companies.  In general, the larger the company, the more likely the belief that those companies will put profit ahead of principle.  This despite the fact that larger companies normally have much more resources (people, access to technology, established procedures, etc) to produce products more safely and efficiently compared to small companies

This is not surprising. Certainly this goes hand-in-hand with the increased demand for less processed foods, going for foods that appear fresher and with less preservatives.  Here again, the reality is that fresher, less processed foods can actually represent a higher risk.

Where does this skepticism come from?  There are probably a number of reasons, but here are a few.
One is the press that has come from past product issues where large companies hid information or provided misleading information.  There is big tobacco and information on linkage with cancer.  Or we can look at the most recent recall of Volkswagen cars after the company mislead consumers on emission testing.  Being large companies, these issues receive national press coverage and with that, garner public outrage.

Another reason is food related ingredients or chemicals that got bad press regardless of whether they were used incorrectly or at all.  One of the biggest controversies which was a major factor for the organic food movement was alar, the chemical added to orchards to help regulate apple maturing.   Another controversy was the use of mechanically recovered meat (pink slime).  This recovered meat product was painted as a big company way of adding a cheap alternative into our food (as opposed to a more sustainable method for protein recovery).

I believe another issue is that the public has been conditioned to view large corporate entities and government institutions negatively through movies and television shows watched every day.  How many times do we see a big company as the villain?  And the Federal government receives gets a worse rap.  The Lego Movie.  Jurassic World.  Wolf of Wall Street. Here is a list. Then of course there are the movies that directly smack the industry  such as Food, Inc or Super Size Me.
The bigger the food company, the less consumers trust it, reveals new research

By Elaine Watson+Elaine WATSON, 18-Nov-2015

Big food companies are consistently trusted less than small, entrepreneurial ones, even though their scale and resources arguably mean they are able to produce products more safely, efficiently and sustainably than their smaller, sexier, counterparts, according to new research.

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