In the last few months and years our industry has faced some serious and challenging issues driven by public perception rather than hard science. In this and the next few blogs I will argue that we are collectively failing to address the publics concerns in a way that is relevant at all to them. Part of my inspiration for this is the Meat Lady’s vlog https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubtalzQ52MQ&sns=fb
That and the banning of neo-nicotine’s etc.
People will buy from the food industry but many do not trust us. We need to keep this in mind when we have a conversation and we need to re earn their trust. In trying to understand the public’s reaction to our industry I have been instead looking at my reaction to another industry; airlines.
We love our holidays abroad, and however we feel about airlines most of us will buy the cheapest ticket we can to the place that we want to visit. Our brand loyalty does not go very far, yet we put our lives in their hands. We may not like their carbon footprints or the way they treat their staff (or us sometimes) but we love a bargain. Most of us deep down may not be certain that their working practices are as safe as they should be but we love a deal and as long as we are not shown any issues it suits us to believe that they are safe. However, if there was a report on any airline showing dodgy practice, I suspect we would bin them in minutes.
I think peoples view of the food industry is similar, there is not much trust but “we love a bargain” and food is dirt cheap. However the moment there is a food scare, that particular niche is abandoned instantly until the incident is forgotten. In both cases there are premium brands that live off the distrust from the main supply (organic produce and 1st world national carriers) but they take a small percentage of the market.
Price is vital, but relative price is the key driver, people choose the cheapest flight or the cheapest chicken but would still probably buy the same amount and the same one if all the prices went up by 20%. Trust though is what we need if we are to avoid being at the wrong end of legislative change and food scare overreactions.
Food and drink should be easy to market well, after all what we enjoy most is getting together in groups to eat or drink together and that experience is what we supply, not just simply fuel for living.