The most trusted food brand in America will surprise you

Recently, Morning Consult, a global data intelligence company, conducted its first annual survey to find out what brands consumers trust most, and the results may surprise you. Trust and brand loyalty are essential for any business to thrive, especially in the food and beverage industries where your brand's credibility also equates to financial rewards and profits. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, "In 2018, U.S. consumers, businesses, and government entities spent $1.71 trillion on food and beverages in grocery stores and other retailers and on away-from-home meals and snacks."

This survey, which Morning Consult calls the "largest study of its kind to-date," had an average of 16,700 interviews per brand across nearly 2,000 brands. The goal of the report was to help understand and gauge brand trust as a whole and to dive into brand trust along generational lines. One of the key findings is that reliability is at the heart of brand trust with 69 percent of respondents saying, "It's very important brands deliver consistently on what they promise when considering trust." 

According to this survey, Chick-fil-A claimed the No. 1 most trusted food brand trophy, and ranked No. 6 overall for trusted brands across all brand industries. Chick-fil-A remains popular due to its great-tasting chicken, and that isn't likely to change soon.

The Hershey Co. followed as the No. 2 most trusted food brand (No. 7 overall), followed by Cheerios claiming the ninth spot on the overall most trusted brands list, and M&Ms the 10th spot overall (via Food Business News). 

Most trusted food brands include Hershey and Cheerios

The study is even more fascinating as it is broken down by generation. Per Food Business News, Gen Z and Millennial consumers were more likely to trust snack and candy brands like Kit Kat, Oreos, Doritos and Gatorade, while Gen Xers and Baby Boomers tended to trust older, more established brands like Kellogg's, Betty Crocker, Heinz, Coca-Cola, and General Mills. 

But according to the executive summary of the study, the younger generation of consumers is a bit more leery of corporate America when compared to older generations. This younger group, made up of Gen Z and Millennials, also has a higher expectation when it comes to ethical standards. They care more about how a company treats its employees and the impact of a product on the environment. 

In fact, 45 percent of Gen Z and 41 percent of Millennial consumers agree with the statement, "I need to know that a company is run in an ethical and responsible manner if I am going to trust them." Compare this to 37 percent of Boomers agreeing with the statement, per the Morning Consult report, and you can see there is a definite shift in where brands need to reassure their consumers if they want to be king of the brand trust mountain (via Talk Business).