Food-system actors' perspectives on trust: an international comparison

Emma Louise Tonkin, Annabelle M. Wilson, John D. Coveney, Julie Anne Henderson, Samantha Beth Meyer, Mary Brigid McCarthy, Seamus O’Reilly, Michael Calnan, Aileen McGloin, Edel Kelly, Paul R. Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to compare the perspectives of actors who contribute to trust in the food system in four high income countries which have diverse food incident histories: Australia, New Zealand (NZ), the United Kingdom (UK) and the Island of Ireland (IOI), focussing on their communication with the public, and their approach to food system interrelationships. Design/methodology/approach: Data were collected in two separate studies: the first in Australia, NZ and the UK (Study 1); and the second on the IOI (Study 2). In-depth interviews were conducted with media, food industry and food regulatory actors across the four regions (n=105, Study 1; n=50, Study 2). Analysis focussed on identifying similarities and differences in the perspectives of actors from the four regions regarding the key themes of communication with the public, and relationships between media, industry and regulators. Findings: While there were many similarities in the way food system actors from the four regions discussed (re)building trust in the context of a food incident, their perceptions differed in a number of critical ways regarding food system actor use of social media, and the attitudes and approaches towards relationships between food system actors. Originality/value: This paper outlines opportunities for the regions studied to learn from each other when looking for practical strategies to maximise consumer trust in the food system, particularly relating to the use of social media and attitudes towards role definition in industry–regulator relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)561-573
Number of pages13
JournalBritish Food Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019


  • Social media
  • Consumer
  • Trust
  • Food scare
  • Food system


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