Objective: Trust is a crucial component of food safety and governance. This research surveyed a random selection of the population to examine its level of trust in a variety of ‘actors’ and organisations in the food chain.
Methods: A computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) survey addressing trust in the food system was administrated during October to December 2009 to a random sample of 1,109 participants across all states (response rate 41.2%).
Results: Farmers enjoyed high levels of trust, whereas politicians were considered less trustworthy. Supermarkets were afforded more trust than media and news outlets. Logistic regression analysis determined that two socio-demographic variables – age and education level – were significantly associated with trust in food actors, with young people finding the media the least trustworthy.
Conclusions: Our respondents invested the most trust in farmers, possibly indicating an awareness and appreciation of primary food production among the Australian public. The finding that young people's trust in the media is low challenges media use in social marketing campaigns aimed to improve health and nutrition in younger age groups.
Implications: Health education, including nutrition education, needs to consider the channels of communication most suited to age and social grouping.