AF5_2019

BLOCKCHAIN ROOBAN PRINCELY FMCG Gurus, St Albans, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom Such scandals have ranged from scares around ingredients being used in food and drink products, to consumers feeling that brands making misleading claims around health and the environment in order to charge a premium price. In addition to this, consumers can also feel that brands and manufacturers charge unnecessarily high prices. This is something that is an irritant to consumers at a time when they are struggling with their everyday finances. It also needs to be remembered that in an age of information, consumers can often post such negative sentiment on social media channels, meaning irrespective of the accuracy of such complaints, such negative sentiment can often be communicated to lots of people. As a result of this, consumers want brands and products to demonstrate maximum transparency when it comes to practices and policies. This is important at a time when 49% of consumers say that they regularly conduct research on the products and brands that they buy. Moreover, consumers expect brands and products to adopt a holistic approach to trust and transparency. Indeed, 50% of consumers for example say that it is not enough for brands and products to monitor their own supply chains to ensure social and corporate responsibility. Instead, they also need to monitor the supply chains of their suppliers. This can be related to stories around brands promoting their ethical and environmental credentials, only for it to be unwittingly revealed to them that the ethical credentials of suppliers are in question. One of the challenges that brands and products have when it comes to promoting trust and transparency is that consumers are more skeptical towards big brands than ever before. As such, new ways need to be found to help elicit consumer trust. FMCG Gurus research shows that currently, only 17% of consumers say that they have heard of the concept of blockchain technology. Of these consumers, only 31% say that they have heard of blockchain technology being used in the food and drink industry. However, when given an explanation as to what blockchain technology is, a total of 49% say that such technology is appealing. This shows that whilst blockchain is currently something of a niche within the food, drink and supplement industry, it is something that has the potential for large growth. Consumers are becoming less trusting of the products and brands that they purchase. This is something that is being driven by several factors. However ultimately, these factors can be grouped together, with consumers feeling that brands and products are often driven more by corporate greed rather than having the best interests of the consumer at heart. This is something that has intensified over the last decade in a post-recessionary environment, with consumers who are juggling and struggling with their finances seeing major stories about the policies and practices of brands that can be deemed misleading. As such, products and brands need to look for ways to help maximize consumer trust. The growing introduction of blockchain technology within the food, drink and supplement industry is one way of helping achieve this. However, it also needs to be taken into consideration that challenges exist when it comes to the introduction of such blockchain technology. In Q3 2019, FMCG Gurus interviewed 26,000 consumers across twenty-six countries on the topic of trust, sustainability and blockchain technology. The research shows that being able to trust brands is important to consumers in the food (60%), drinks (56%) and nutritional supplement (64%) industries. This is because trust is associated with several favorable product attributes such as better quality (49%) and health (45%). It is also worth noting that 45% of consumers believe it is important that brands and products elicit trust by highlighting their ethical and environmental initiatives, even if they do not necessarily feel anything is wrong with product or brands. However, whilst trust is important to consumers, only one in two consumers say that they are generally trusting of food brands (51%), drink brands (49%) and nutritional supplement brands (50%). Moreover, one in four consumers across the globe say that they have become less trusting of food brands (26%), drink brands (26%) and nutritional supplement brands (23%) over the last two years. When questioned why they are not trusting of products and brands, the most popular answer given (42%) is that consumers feel that products and brands are more interested in profit than corporate and social responsibility. In recent decades, there have been several scandals that have hit the food, drink and supplement industry that have had a severe impact on overall levels of consumer trust. The evolution of blockchain and what it means in the FMCG space KEYWORDS: Blockchain, transparency, traceability, trust, supply-chain, brands. 8 Agro FOOD Industry Hi Tech - vol. 30(5) September/October 2019

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