Building A Culture of Trust and Transparency in Food Retail David Fikes, Vice President, Communications and Consumer/Community Affairs Retail & FoodService
In a few weeks, I’ll be traveling to Seattle for one of my favorite research projects—the ethnographic interviews that are part of our annual U.S. Grocery Shopper Trendsreport. These interviews take place in shopper’s homes and we inquire about their grocery shopping and meal preferences. During these interviews, I love to ask participants to fill in the blank to this sentence, “I trust my grocery store to ______.” For a while, I got responses like “sell safe food,” “be clean” and “have a good assortment of food.” But in recent years, I hear more answers along the lines of “give me product information,” “know where my food comes from,” and “be good to their employees.” This shift in consumer values, uncovered in the face-to face interviews is further verified by our expansive Trends survey findings. Our research shows consumer’s reporting the following as important attributes when choosing their primary store:
Accurate information displayed (65 percent);
Courteous, friendly employees (51 percent);
Knowledgeable employees (49 percent);
Provides information beyond the package (23 percent); and
Open and honest about business practices (48 percent).
In many ways, shoppers are looking for food retailers to have a culture of trust and transparency across their organization, which presents retailers with the challenge of how do you make transparency a vibrant part of your company identity from the C-suite all the way to the associate on the store aisle?