Three core steps to build trust

‘Trust’ as a concept, is increasingly on the agenda with media and the public questioning whether there is a ‘trust crisis’ in today’s world. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is relatively well trusted as an organisation, but they know they can’t take this public trust for granted. They therefore commissioned us and our research partners, 2CV Research, to conduct deliberative research with consumers to understand what drives, builds and hinders trust in the food system and in a regulator.

Through a series of reconvened workshops, we found that trust is a complex social necessity, and there are 3 core steps in understanding trust decisions:

  1. Context;

  2. ‘Social Trust’ (Intention);

  3. ‘Cognitive Trust’ (Delivery).

Our research showed that loss of social trust is most damaging, while cognitive trust is more resilient.

The context for food sector decisions makes trust easier for the public, but learning more about the sector can increase concern. We found that the public want a visible, powerful FSA protecting their interests in the food system while maintaining proactive consumer communications that help the public empower themselves. This piece of work will help the FSA to maintain its public trust as it navigates the changing regulatory landscape in the future. You can read our report for further details.

Rachel Lopata