Consumers respond to a model for (re)building consumer trust in the food system

Emma Tonkin, Annabelle M. Wilson, John Coveney, Samantha B. Meyer, Julie Henderson, Dean McCullum, Trevor J. Webb, Paul R. Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Researchers and food system actors have developed a best practice model to assist with (re)building or maintaining consumer trust in the food system in the event of a food incident. The aim of the present study was to determine how well the model aligns with consumer views of the strategies required to maintain consumer trust during and following a food incident. This qualitative public deliberation study employed experimental, developmental vignettes during 2 full-day sessions in May 2018. Following general discussion of the food incident scenario presented in the vignettes, 15 South Australian adults (in two groups) developed a collated and ranked list of key strategies to be used by food system actors during a food incident to assist in maintaining consumer trust. Participants were then introduced to the existing model, and engaged in discussions about if and how their strategies aligned with those in the existing model. Findings demonstrate broad consistency between the two groups and the model in the strategies identified as key for (re)building and maintaining consumer trust during a food incident. For example, timely transparency was reported by consumers as the key strategy for maintaining consumer trust during and after a food incident. However, participants expressed pessimism regarding actors’ ability to implement strategies. Although minimal, differences were noted in strategy descriptions between the groups and the Model. This study suggests that overall the model is highly consistent with consumer views. If actors are to demonstrably apply the Model in the event of a food incident, our data suggest that the identified strategies will successfully assist them in (re)building and/or maintaining consumer trust in the food supply.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-120
Number of pages9
JournalFood Control
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019


  • Consumers
  • Trust
  • Food system
  • Food incident
  • Food regulator
  • food industry
  • Food industry


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