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A message from the Executive Director

Since its inception, The Center for Food Integrity has been known for its annual Consumer Trust Research. For the past decade, CFI has developed models, programs and tools from this research to provide the foundation to achieve its mission – to earn consumer trust in today’s food system. Engage, CFI’s values-based communication training was built on the principles uncovered in CFI’s research. CFI members use the research findings to enhance their communication efforts and develop programs to earn consumer trust. Whether it is Costco Wholesale using the Best Food Facts widget in their customer service department or Phibro Animal Health applying key learnings regarding trusted messengers with their Director of Food Integrity and Consumer Engagement, CFI is pleased to always offer cutting-edge research that aligns the culture of today’s food system with consumer expectations.

The upcoming public release of the 2016 Consumer Trust Research results – Jan. 19, is better than ever. I am excited to see CFI members and partners put this year’s research into action.

For CFI’s 2016 research, we partnered with digital ethnography pioneer, MotivIndex. While traditional consumer research allows us to understand “what” consumers say they are feeling or doing, ethnography research allow us to understand “why” consumers are doing what they are doing. Traditionally, ethnography research involved physically observing consumers and has been used on a limited basis with only a handful of consumers due to costs and time constraints. However, due to consumers’ increasing digital presence, MotivIndex and CFI have revolutionized food system, consumer ethnography research – making it more accessible and for larger studies.

The 2016 CFI research explored digital conversations – after all, we know the number one source of food system information for consumers is online, of over 18,000 consumers. Traditionally, CFI research has surveyed 2,000 U.S. consumers and that gave us a confidence rate of over 95 percent in our findings. Now, with over 18,000 data points, we are even more confident in our research results.

As if that’s not exciting enough, the 2016 research allowed CFI to uncover five Consumer Types based on their beliefs and attitudes toward food. These consumer types are each unique not only in their beliefs and attitudes but also their share of the U.S. population, their share of voice and therefore their influence in conversations that shape overall consumer attitudes about issues ranging from diet and health to GMOs to animal well-being to environmental stewardship. Now, CFI’s research not only provides valuable insights surrounding the U.S. population and key demographics such as Moms, Millennials, Foodies and Early Adopters but also Food Fatalists, Comfort Seekers, Providers, Wellness Seekers and Peak Performers.

For members of CFI, by the time you read this message you should have received the first edition of the CFI Comprehensive Guide. This guide dives into the 2016 research and how you may apply it to your organization’s communication efforts.

For our CFI friends and partners, we look forward to sharing this research with you. To learn how your organization may get a copy, e-mail us at learnmore@foodintegrity.org or call (816) 556-3141.

As always, I and the rest of the CFI team look forward to working with each of you in 2017 to earn consumer trust in today’s food system.