Farmers remain the key driver of trust in agriculture and a steadying force in an unstable world

Thursday, 29 September 2022

Trust in agriculture is a valuable social currency, forming part of the “licence to operate” that the agricultural sector enjoys. 

However, trust is fragile and easy to manipulate or damage.  For this reason, AHDB have been tracking public trust and perceptions of British agriculture with research agency Blue Marble on an annual basis since 2019. 

The period of 2019-2022 has seen some tumultuous changes, from the ongoing repercussions of Brexit, to the disruptions and lockdowns of the Covid-19 pandemic and now, the resultant economic shocks of war in Ukraine and the lasting effects of the pandemic. 

New webinars

AHDB will be exploring this in more depth in a series of webinars in October.  Despite significant changes in the social and political landscape, overall consumers’ impressions of British agriculture remain very positive with only 8% feeling negative.  While there is some variation by sector (19% of people feel negative about poultry farming compared to only 6% for cereals, for example) on balance, most are viewed positively.  And, as we have seen in previous studies, farmers remain by far the most trusted group in the supply chain (70% agree farmers are trustworthy compared to 50% for supermarkets and 42% for food processors). 

Drivers of trust

We will be exploring which factors drive trust in agriculture (and how this differs for groups like Generation Z), how the media can impact that trust (both positively and negatively) and how this compares to other parts of the supply chain and how we should defend that trust in future. The research has found that the biggest drivers of trust in farmers are delivering on their promises, care about animals, people and the planet and expertise.  We also found that keeping people informed about the food system can be a key part of trust, as well as providing safe and affordable British food. 

Impact of the cost of living crisis

Rising energy and food costs have become the most impactful issues in society currently, emerging as a huge driver of changes in shopping behaviour. You can understand more on the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on meat and dairy sales sales by signing up for first webinar. In our second webinar, we will be exploring trust in the sector in more detail, as well as exploring how consumer choices regarding issues such as health, ethical living (including sustainability and animal welfare) and buying British shift when times are hard.  We will ask what this means for farmers and the wider supply chain and argue that there is a need to make progress against these issues now or lose ground when economic pressures weaken. 

Find more details on our consumer reputation hub

Image of staff member Susie Stannard

Susie Stannard

Lead Analyst (Dairy)

See full bio

Sign up to receive the latest information from AHDB

Stay in contact

While AHDB seeks to ensure that the information contained on this webpage is accurate at the time of publication, no warranty is given in respect of the information and data provided. You are responsible for how you use the information. To the maximum extent permitted by law, AHDB accepts no liability for loss, damage or injury howsoever caused or suffered (including that caused by negligence) directly or indirectly in relation to the information or data provided in this publication.

All intellectual property rights in the information and data on this webpage belong to or are licensed by AHDB. You are authorised to use such information for your internal business purposes only and you must not provide this information to any other third parties, including further publication of the information, or for commercial gain in any way whatsoever without the prior written permission of AHDB for each third party disclosure, publication or commercial arrangement. For more information, please see our Terms of Use and Privacy Notice or contact the Director of Corporate Affairs at  © Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. All rights reserved.