Trust in national food authorities falls after Covid-19 while high trust in farmers remains

As Europe recovers from the Covid-19 crisis, a comparative EU study, participated by the University of Helsinki, shows that trust in national food authorities, such as government and food regulators, has fallen.

Researchers found that 30% of consumers report a decrease in their trust of food authorities since the pandemic, while only 10% reported an increase. However, of all countries studied (Finland, Italy, Poland, Spain, UK) studied, Finland shows the least decline in trust into public food authorities as a result of Covid-19.

“Interestingly, at the same time, trust in farmers has increased slightly, whereas the data suggests that trust in retailers and food processors has rather declined, also in Finland,” says Professor Bodo Steiner, University of Helsinki.

Food waste, insect protein and cellular agriculture also covered

The study indicates Finnish consumers are relatively less interested in information on food waste reduction in the supply chain compared to consumers of other EU countries.

As for consuming insect protein the study shows there is the widest and strongest disagreement on consuming insect protein (53%) in all countries. Cellular agriculture was also something citizens tend to disagree in all European countries (43%).

According to Steiner further research is being undertaken to better understand the reasons behind these striking findings.

Funding and research method

The project is funded by EIT Food and is part of a ‘Grand Challenge in Consumer Trust’ project partnered with TrustTracker® to ask consumers across 18 EU-associated countries about how the Covid-19 pandemic had affected their trust in the different actors in the food chain: farmers, food manufacturers, retailers, food authorities and restaurants/caterers.  

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