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Trust in quality, safety and ethical ag production examined

Press release October 4, 2018 Trust NSW NSW farmers Farmers

Australian agriculture’s reputation is world leading but new research shows there’s room for improvement when it comes to gaining and keeping the trust of Australians in our home-grown fresh food and fibre.

Acting CEO of NSW Farmers Matt Waring said the National Community and Consumer Trust Project, conducted with support from NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI), revealed that consumers in Australia and overseas have great trust in the quality, safety and ethical production of Australian food and fibre but it was paramount the industry didn’t rest on its laurels. 
“We fielded this research to explore the facets of trust in farming with a view to building a whole-of-ag ‘consumer trust index’ that could be used to inform decisions and manage risk at industry level,” Mr Waring said.
Mr Waring said the research showed that all sectors could benefit from improved product labelling, and there is evidence that better consumer education on quality standards and practices could drive up trust.
“Consumers believe the quality and safety of our fresh food and fibre is the best in the world. Buying Australian-made is on trend, and diets, food intolerances and health trends are also driving demand,” he said.
“Our discussions with producers show that they understand the link between the industry’s reputation and its success, and how negative perceptions in one sector can impact the reputation of others. We’re trying to unpack that, so we can approach the issue of trust in a more strategic way.
“For example, we know there is a high level of trust in food safety, but is this due to confidence in our regulatory approach or in our farming practices? And how can industry best harness this wealth of information to work together on trust issues and managing risk?
Mr Waring said he hoped industry would begin to use the research findings to inform a collaborative whole-of-industry approach, to risk mitigation and reputation management.
“A trust index that continuously tracks, monitors and reports perceptions is the first step in understanding the drivers and detractors of trust, and trends over time. We’ve barely scratched the surface of what a cross-sector approach could achieve. 
“This project has created a strong foundation for ongoing discussion and collaboration. I envisage that if continued, it could support the development of industry positions and messaging, advertising campaigns and lead to practice sharing around risk mitigation.”
More information: National Community and Consumer Trust Project 

Media enquiries and interviews: 

Susan McNair, Currie Communications, 03 9670 6599
Kathleen Curry, NSW Farmers Public Affairs Director, 0429 011 690


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