Radical Transparency

One of twelve strategies developed in the Trust Study, with the goal of helping consumers eat more healthfully and sustainably.

The Trust Study

In collaboration with EIT Food, Future of Food Institute conducted a study to gain a deeper understanding about consumer attitudes towards the food chain, and particularly the role trust plays in that relationship.

One of the outcomes of this study is a set of twelve strategies, co-created together with European participants in the Citizen Participation Forum 2020. 

One of these strategies is Radical Transparency.

What is Radical Transparency?

For many consumers the food chain feels like a black box, an opaque and complex system that they are not able to oversee as individuals. Consumers can’t always know where food comes from and what has been done to it in the production process.

Wouldn’t it be great if all steps in the food chain would be completely transparent, so that consumers could see with their own eyes where their food comes from?

Consumers should have a clear view of what all the parties in the food chain do, how they do it, and with whom. If producers, farmers, or manufacturers start disclosing this information, other parties which are not willing to do so will be viewed as suspicious.

 

What does Radical Transparency look like?

  • Access through webcams and informative websites provided by all parties involved
  • Transparent as though the operations can be viewed through clear glass windows
  • From farm to fork

Particularly farmers and manufacturers will be affected by this theme. By offering full transparency, they may need to rethink the way they handle certain processes in their production. Animal farms and slaughterhouses are particularly of interest in this theme, as consumers view the unnecessary suffering of animals as inhumane.

What’s the catch?

For this strategy to work, the following points need to be taken into account:

Privacy

Regulations should come into place that protect the privacy of the workers.

Information overload

More information does not necessarily mean better insights. Information must be presented in ways that consumers can easily interpret, for example by using logos or colour schemes.

What did community members say about this?

If I were a farmer I would open my farm to the public on given days. Would share my knowledge of food production and educated people to produce more sustainable and environment friendly. Also, would lend some of the farm to those people who want to try and produce food for themselves.
Katarina, 54, Ireland

Legislate that all food producers open their doors for a set number of days to the public or perhaps to schools for educational purposes.”
Rupert, 56, Great Britain

The consumer must always have the possibility of reconstructing and following the path of a food… through all the phases of production, processing and distribution; must have the guarantee of being able to request clarifications and verifications in order to facilitate traceability, by means of relevant documentation or information according to the requirements set forth in the matter by more specific provisions.
Chiara, 42, Italy

Best practices: who is already doing this?

Avatud Talude Päev: Estonia’s Open Farm Day

The Open Farm Day is organised by the Ministry of Rural Affairs, the Agricultural Research Centre, the Estonian Chamber of Agriculture and Commerce, and the Central Union of Estonian Farmers. Local Leader action groups and the Estonian Village Movement Kodukant are also involved in the organization.

The event has been taking place for the six seven years. In 2020, approximately 280 farms throughout the entire country took part, and they received a total of more than 213,000 visitors over the two-day event.

Farm Sanctuary Live Stream Watkins Glen, New York, USA

This livestream shows Farm Sanctuary’s Wisconsin pasture, where a number of rescued farm animals–including cows, goats, sheep, and alpacas–graze, socialize, and relax. The stream is available 24/7 and viewers can check-in at their convenience.

Our mission is to help accelerate the transition to a more sustainable food system, by including the consumer as equally relevant stakeholder.

We offer accessible and clear consumer insights that help all actors in the food chain to effectively support & seduce the consumer to make the sustainable food choice.

Laan van Meerdervoort 36 - 2517AL - Den Haag - The Netherlands - Info@futureoffood.institute