Nestlé, P&G and PepsiCo CEOs talk trust at Consumer Goods Forum

Build sales by creating a trust-based trading partner environment

Trust was the key word at this year’s Consumer Goods Forum Global Summit in New York. Several speakers emphasized that the food industry can’t grow without it.

Trust is critical, industry leaders said, because most consumers will only recommend a product, brand or store if they trust it, and the majority of consumers won’t buy from companies they don’t trust.

Paul Bulcke, CEO of Nestlé, opened the session without the company of his Consumer Goods Forum co-chair Dick Boer, CEO of Ahold, who was in Europe overseeing the merger of his company with Del Haize. Bulcke said that while consumers trust the CPG business, including retail and manufacturing, more than institutions like the government and the media, the industry needs to improve its public stature.

Peter Freeman, managing director of the Consumer Goods Forum, suggested the best strategy for retailers and manufacturers to build trust with shopper is by delivering quality products that are healthy and safe, engage them while protecting their privacy and collaborating to ensure a consistent message that resonates with the audience.

A.G. Lafley, CEO of Procter & Gamble, said the key questions trading partners need to ask themselves and each other is “Are we building or eroding trust?”

He tadvised attendees to review the number of new products they offer and the total number of SKUs in the store, inferring that marketing managers may be extending brand lines and revising packaging without consideration of the shopper.

Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, added that trust is even more important and hard to maintain with the millennial generation, which demands more local and authentic products from transparent and ethical companies.

The Consumer Goods Forum made two major announcements at the gathering, which included attendees from Metro, Overwaitea and other leading Canadian food companies.

The group announced a major new initiative to halve food waste by 2025 within member retail and manufacturing operations. Nestle’s Bulcke said at a press conference during the event, “The Resolution on Food Waste the CGF Board of Directors has adopted demonstrates our willingness to engage and take action in an area where a collective industry effort can make a difference. We will leverage the best practices we have developed for the implementation of the existing resolutions on deforestation and refrigeration to engage the CGF’s wider membership in the global effort on food waste.”

The Consumer Goods Forum also launched a new Health & Wellness Toolkit and digital platform, which is an extension of the organization’s commitment to support its members in the implementation of its Health & Wellness Resolutions and Commitments.

It provides real-life examples of what companies have achieved and offer ideas for companies looking to take the next step.

Onno Franse, program director for Healthy Living & Climate Action at Ahold and co-chair of the Health & Wellness Steering Committee at the CGF, said, “This new digital platform is a true collaborative effort that everyone can benefit from. It brings together the experiences of those that have had success in the area of health and wellness, and it provides genuine insight into how companies can meet the board-approved health and wellness resolutions and commitments.”

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