Embattled staples seek trust and transparency
THE Australian egg industry is worried about its future, fearing a lack of community trust and industry transparency will leave it out of step with shifting consumer attitudes.
To keep in step with community expectations and secure its future, the industry is spending a small fortune to learn what the community thinks about it, warts and all.
Australian Eggs has commissioned the CSIRO to research community views on the impacts and contributions of the egg industry across areas such as the environment, animal welfare, food security and livelihood.
It’s a three-year research program. Views from a sample of 5,000 Australians will be collected in the coming months.
A team of CSIRO analysts will then explore how the relationship between the eggs industry and the Australian public looks now and identify the pathways to deeper levels of trust and acceptance of the industry.
Trust, transparency and accountability
Australian Eggs’ managing director, Rowan McMonnies says the relationship between agriculture and communities is complex.
“The egg industry has recognised the best way to manage this complexity is to increase the quantity and quality of engagement with the public and set a platform of transparency and accountability,” he says.
Mr McMonnies says the organisation is prepared for a “warts and all” report to emerge from the research, the largest consultation program ever undertaken by the industry.
“We want to get on the front foot with this because if you don’t listen to the public you can very quickly get out of step with community expectations,” he says.
The research project, he says, has been developed in the context of a growing appetite among Australians to understand where their food comes from and the methods used in its production.
“Eggs are a staple food and we believe that listening to views about our industry is an important part of maintaining community trust,” Mr McMonnies says.
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Community trust is critical
Senior Research Scientist with the CSIRO, Dr Kieren Moffat says, “community trust is critical to the sustainability of all agricultural industries and we look forward to playing a role in this process.” To participate in the survey go here.
Trust and transparency, particularly the lack of it, is a key focus group buzzword ringing out from another food industry group also keen to put its side of the story in growing debates about its impact on environment and animal welfare.
Meat and Livestock Australia last week after much research launched a website, hoping people will come to it, to have their trust restored.
MLA managing director Richard Norton in a tweet said: “Transparency builds trust – see how our industry cares about the environment and animal welfare in the production of red meat.”
Mr Norton, like egg boss Mr McMonnies, almost word-for-word highlighted the increasing interest consumers have in the provenance of their food and how it is produced. For more on the new MLA website see our story.