The 2023 EIT Food Trust Report reveals a marked decline in consumer trust in the food sector, with only 45% of Europeans expressing confidence in the industry, a stark contrast to previous years. This diminishing trust spans various aspects of the food system, including taste, safety, health, authenticity, and sustainability.

Declining Consumer Trust and the Shift in Food Choices

Interestingly, the report highlights a notable decrease in the number of consumers making healthy and sustainable food choices. While 78% of consumers in 2020 intended to live sustainably, this number has steadily declined to 71%. Furthermore, the percentage of consumers considering the environmental impact of their diet when choosing food has also seen a slight decrease, suggesting a growing disconnect between sustainability intentions and actual food choices.

Scepticism Around Food Sustainability and Health

Consumers' confidence in the sustainability and healthiness of their food remains low, with only 36% believing their food choices are sustainable and 44% considering them healthy. This scepticism is even more pronounced regarding food innovation, where only a third of consumers are open to new food products. However, younger demographics show a greater openness to innovation, indicating a potential shift in future market trends. 
The report underscores a strong relationship between openness to innovation and confidence in the food system. Consumers who are receptive to food technology are more likely to trust the integrity of the food system. Yet, there's a significant barrier due to a lack of knowledge and trust, particularly concerning food technology related to sustainability.

Trust Among Food Sector Actors

Farmers remain the most trusted group within the food sector, albeit with a slight decline in perceived competence. Retailers and restaurants follow, though they too have experienced a drop in trust. The report calls attention to the need for greater transparency and engagement from these actors to rebuild consumer confidence.

Strategic Importance of Food Education

The EIT Food Trust Report illuminates the critical challenges facing the food industry and the vital role that education must play in addressing these issues. As consumer trust wanes and the gap between sustainable intentions and actions widens, the need for comprehensive food education becomes more apparent. Effective food education not only increases consumer awareness and trust in the food systems, but can also foster conscious food choices in terms of health and sustainability. 

Want to learn more? Download the full report here