Four years ago, a coalition of agribusiness companies and industry groups, including Monsanto, the American Farm Bureau, the Midwest Dairy Council, and the National Pork Producers Council, got together to start the Center for Food Integrity (CFI), a nonprofit organization whose mission is “to build consumer trust and confidence in today’s food system.”
CFI fulfills its mission by performing market research and then concocting spinmeister Frank Luntz-style message testing to come up with ways Big Food can convince Americans to stop worrying and love industrial agriculture.
But perhaps it’s Big Food that has reason to worry: There’s new evidence that eaters are rapidly losing confidence in the food industry. And that evidence comes to us thanks to CFI’s own data. The group just released its 2011 Consumer Trust Survey [PDF]. Here’s the essence:
Consumers aren’t sure today’s agriculture still qualifies as farming. Why? Generational and geographic distance between farmers and consumers, technological advances in farming, and changes in farm size and structure. We see consumer alienation from agriculture and the food system expressed through concerns about nutrition, food safety, affordability, environmental sustainability, animal welfare, and other issues.