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Brief description of the dive:

  • According to Morning Consult’s 2022 Most Trusted Brands report, the food and beverage industry is the most trusted, with more than 7 in 10 U.S. adults trusting these companies.
  • The data showed that while consumers tend to have long-term relationships with food and drink brands, they are not afraid to switch when that trust wanes. Morning Consult noted that more than 1 in 3 consumers said they switched brands of food and beverages when this happened – more than in any other category.
  • Many of the factors that can cause consumers to lose trust in a brand, including reduced product quality, higher prices, or the fact that the brand was a cause they disagree with, occur regularly today.

Dive:

As food and beverage companies grapple with rising production costs, supply chain headaches and social issues demanding their attention, consumers buying their brands are closely watching how they respond.

To be sure, food and beverage companies start out in the enviable position of being more trusted by consumers than industries such as healthcare, travel and technology, a consumer survey conducted by Morning Consult found. This support is especially noticeable among baby boomers (84%) and high-income consumers (82%).

That trust is declining among younger consumers — 62% for Gen Z adults and 67% for millennials, the business intelligence firm found. Young shoppers have high expectations of engaging with brands and tend to be skeptical of marketing efforts.

Respondents were asked which qualities they consider most important. Baby Boomers stood firm for good value for money, high quality products and services, and consistently delivering on promises. While they were also highly rated by Gen Z adults and millennials, younger demographics tended to value other factors more, including good customer service, sustainability, and customer reviews.

But while consumers have a favorable view of food and drink, Morning Consult notes, they are in the most perilous position to lose it.

These companies not only have to balance rising costs and reassure shareholders by raising prices without alienating those who buy their products, but there are many other factors that are increasingly demanding their attention. Result: There are more things businesses can do to lose the consumer trust they want.

As the younger generation becomes an even bigger source of income, CPG has taken notice. This is an important reason why they promote their sustainability efforts when it comes to improving packaging, reducing water use, or finding more sustainable ingredients. Companies are also interacting more than ever online with social media-savvy teenagers and young adults. If these companies don’t devote time and attention to these areas, the consumer may gravitate toward other brands that will.

The survey found that the most trusted brands among adults not only dominate the category, but many of them have been around for decades. Cheerios from General Mills topped the list; followed by Mars Wrigley’s M&Ms; Ritz manufactured by Mondelēz International; Campbell; and Heinz.

Cheerios has stood out for its long history, commitment to health, responsible management, and the ability to develop long-term relationships with customers from a young age. Babies are often fed cereal by their parents, while baby boomers turn to it for its heart health benefits, including its ability to lower cholesterol.

Great Value, Walmart’s private label, is the 11th most trusted food and beverage brand among millennials. As cash-strapped consumers face price increases on grocery store shelves, more of them are turning to private label offerings to save money.

This can be especially noticeable among millennials, who consistently report relatively poor financial well-being, according to Morning Consult. Food prices have increased by 10.1% over the past year. according to the US governmentbig brands are being pressured to give consumers a reason to pay more rather than transferring their dollars to a CPG competitor or store brand.

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