Food industry must build trust

It all comes down to trust, says the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute.

A forum last fall to discuss the future of the country’s agriculture and food sector boiled the talk down to the idea that trust is the defining issue facing those in food production and supply.

A report issued last week suggests that Canada’s future competitiveness could depend on how trust is cultivated.

David McInnes, chief executive officer of CAPI, said that means greater transparency and using metrics to demonstrate performance.

“Trust is indeed this cornerstone of our future success,” he said in an interview. “Trust, though, is well beyond food safety.”

It’s about reliability of supply, how the industry adapts to climate change pressure, sustainability, food quality and health outcomes.

“If there’s any country on the planet that could define its future around enhancing trust or enhancing our ecosystem health and the health of citizens it’s Canada.”

The report said the status of the most trusted food supply is one that consumers should award, not the stakeholders themselves.

The industry, then, must demonstrate the care it takes in all aspects of food production, manage and enhance natural capital to be more productive, and add more value through better collaboration, the forum concluded.

The report also said that presenting the sector’s benefits as a creator of wealth and contributor to societal well-being could leverage more supportive public policies.

“This is way more than communicating the economic importance of the sector. It’s this dual value proposition by what we can do to enhance ecosystems and health that I think is a powerful story.”

He said the report discusses how the industry can work toward positioning Canada as the trusted food supplier. The full report can be found at

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