What's In My Food? I Haven't The First Clue

LOS ANGELES , March 27, 2013 () – I have no idea how food is made.

I mean, I honestly don’t have the first clue. I don’t know what goes into my food, or how much of what goes into my food, or if what goes into my food are things I can actually pronounce. When I look at the back of a label, I look at fat, calories and serving size (and carbohydrates if I’m doing an Atkins diet at the time). I never look at the ingredients.

Most consumers are like me. According to a new white paper, "Building Trust in What We Eat," released recently by Sullivan Higdon & Sink FoodThink, 60% of Americans have little actual knowledge about food production, while just 19% think that food companies and manufacturers are trustworthy sources of food production information.

It’s the second statistic that puts food companies in a very tough spot. Most Americans admit they don’t know what’s in their food and even more say that they don’t believe what food companies tell them.

There is something food companies can do to solve this problem: Take the initiative! Find a way to explain to consumers what’s in their food without being asked. Make the first move, take the first step, be proactive in establishing trust rather than being reactive. I’m not saying they need to explain what all of these unpronounceable ingredients are. But perhaps there can be some simple messaging on the packaging explaining how they make the food.

Still, is it worth it? People may not know what’s in their food. People may not believe what you say is in their food. But people will still buy the food.

Because in the end, everyone has to eat.

But not everyone has to know what they’re eating.

Nevin Barich is the Food & Beverage Analyst for Industry Intelligence Inc. He has no idea how his food gets made, and that’s just fine by him. He can be reached at n.barich@industryintel.com

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