Dr. Liat Levontin and the doctoral student Kim Penias are taking part in a European initiative funded by EIT Food of the EU looking to Increase consumer trust and support for the food supply chain and for food companies.
As part of the project Liat and Kim conducted an online survey online survey of 364 consumers, 6 focus groups, 2 industry workshops and 3 food industry stakeholder interviews.
Among their key findings Kim and Liat mention the Israel costumer demand for transparency in labeling and information on packages, prices, package size, social network customer service, crisis management, etc.
The Israeli costumer perceives farmers as the fairest actor in the food supply chain. They feel emotional solidarity towards them and believe they have a relatively low profit.
The Covid-19 had a substantial influence on consumers’ trust in Israel. Trust in farmers and manufacturers has increased. Covid-19 raised awareness of the challenges farmers faced and reinforced consumers’ sense of identification and desire to help them. Nevertheless, costumers were concerned about farm animals’ welfare and environmental issues.
Those findings were found to correlate with the results seen in other five countries that participated in this project (Finland, Italy, Poland, Spain, UK), surveying a total of 2,200 people and 33 focus groups of 163 consumers.
As part of the project, the participating bodies held local competitions among students. The purpose was to develop and propose a communication campaign that could improve consumer trust in the food supply chain and possibly beyond. Participants were asked to use the power of Crowd Ideation in the development of their ideas.
Five teams were invited to the final presentations on the 9th of December. A panel formed by two academics, Prof. Danit Ein-Gar from Tel-Aviv University and Dr. Liat Levontin and two industry experts, Michal Goldman, and Osnat Golan, VP Communications, Corporate Branding & Sustainability Strauss group, chose the winning team.
The winning idea- Promoting trust in food through recipe sharing, followed by the production of home recipes by food manufacturers, by Shay Shmoul, Inbar Barnea, and Orel Ariel, Technion students.
One of the food industry’s main challenges is to help consumers understand that food is produced in a hygienic environment and contains high-quality ingredients, just like the food they cook at home, if not better. The team suggested involving consumers in creating food by sharing their family recipes (on social media platforms). The shared recipes will be rated by other consumers. Food manufacturers will choose from the high rated recipes those to be manufactured and sold under its label. Consumers will be involved in creating food and its exact ingredients. One example is encouraging consumers to share homemade bread recipes followed by bread manufacturers’ adoption of a recipe/s, manufacturing and selling this bread/s.