The Food Marketing Institute (FMI), Arlington, Va., and The Center for Food Integrity (CFI), Kansas City, Mo., partnered to create a new culture of transparency in the food system. FMI and CFI released “Transparency Roadmap for Food Retailers: Strategies to Build Consumer Trust,” which offers guidance for food retailers and their supplier partners to provide shoppers with clear information about their food. 

“In an age when information flows freely – from trustworthy and some not-so-trustworthy sources – food consumers simply want balanced, credible information regarding the products in the supermarket,” says David Fikes, vice president, FMI communications and consumer/community affairs.  “Grocers who provide easy access to clear information the shopper wants will be rewarded by a shift in consumer perception – moving from being a simple purveyor of food to a trusted ally in the shopper’s food experience.”

FMI is partnering with CFI to develop a transparency index, based on consumer transparency expectations, that will provide retailers with an easy-to-use tool for both assessing how well they have integrated transparency into their cultures and operations and offer specific research-based guidance to enhance transparency.   

In developing the index, CFI identified six transparency areas that are priorities for consumers:

  1. Impact of food on health
  2. Food safety
  3. Impact on environment
  4. Labor and human rights
  5. Treatment of animals raised for food
  6. Business ethics in food production

“Consumers hold food manufacturers and farmers chiefly responsible for transparency, however food retailers are increasingly in the spotlight, as they place more focus on their own brands and private label products,” says Charlie Arnot, chief executive officer of CFI. “Trust-building transparency is no longer optional, but rather a basic consumer expectation.”