Livestock producers will be urged to recognise the importance of building trust with consumers through shared values by internationally recognised CEO for The Center for Food Integrity, Charlie Arnot.
Mr Arnot will be a key note speaker at LambEx 2018 in Perth from August 5-7.
Based in the United States, the not-for-profit organisation is dedicated to building consumer trust and confidence in today’s food systems, with Mr Arnot saying it is vital for producers to be able to connect with consumers through values-based communication.
“Consumers play an increasingly important role in food production and agriculture,” he said.
“The world is changing rapidly with social media and online communication meaning that consumers can now interact and find out more about where their food comes from and how it is produced.
“It creates many opportunities for producers but it also means we need to be able to find a way to connect and identify common values with consumers, who often don’t think like producers may do.
“It’s important that we connect with these people and ensure the information we share with them is as relevant as possible. We also need to be able to address any concerns effectively.
“It’s a different way of thinking on how we communicate, the principles we apply, and learning to build trust rather than becoming defensive.
“It’s also a principle that increasingly applies to anyone involved in the livestock or agricultural industries, anyone working within the food chain.”
Mr Arnot is a global authority on consumer trust and has more than 25 years of experience working in communications, public relations and issues management within the food system.
“Since I last presented at LambEx 2012 I have seen meaningful change in how and why people communicate,” he said.
“A lot of information is sourced online and that source aligns with consumers beliefs. We need to identify and engage with those who don’t think like we do or believe what we believe.”
Conference Chair Bindi Murray says Mr Arnot’s presentation will draw on his current experiences with consumer trust and his vision for the road ahead.
“The presentation will include an update on his most recent campaign in the space of gene editing and the persistent consumer concerns and misconceptions that have made the path to consumer acceptance more difficult for GM food,” she said.