The Battle for Consumer Trust

The Lempert Report
May 01, 2015

How can supermarkets help customers see through misinformation in the digital world?

It's so often hard for consumers to know who to trust when it comes to what we should eat, what's good for you and what's not.  

Take for example this recent battle of the bloggers. Blogger Vani Hari, better known as the "Food Babe" was recently given a lashing in the form of a Gawker article. Author of said article Yvette d'Entremont, who started a rival blog named "Science Babe" claims that Hari has no credentials and simply pushes easily disproved pseudoscience and overuses the word 'toxin', all in an effort to scare consumers and turn them away from major food companies and all they offer.

The Food Babe, who is a NY Times Bestselling author, and does have a large following, called the "Science Babe'  biased, and a pro-pesticide advocate.

This debate says a lot about the kind of confusion consumers are faced with. In a world of bloggers and of huge digital influence, America is facing a growing problem of credibility. Consumers don't know who to trust, and with such outspoken forces such as the Food Babe, there's also no trust in food labeling.

As we've seen, the trend towards healthy, natural and sustainable food options has been growing, and this has sparked bloggers like the Food Babe to scare consumers into never trusting big companies. 

In this era of misinformation supermarkets need to step up and communicate in a powerful way. As food marketers struggle with how to communicate the right message, supermarkets are in a more unique position to speak directly with shoppers. Having expert staff on hand, clear labeling, tips and advice placed around the store near products with ingredients that are topics of confusion and even leaflets with extra information can all help provide customers with the knowledge they need to stay informed. Supermarkets could also consider the use of secret shoppers to  test their stores ability to provide customers with relevant and useful information as week as allowing shopper to develop trust in the store.