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07/02/2021

Grocers Are America's Most Trusted Businesses

New Impact Award program honors industry exceptionalism while trust is in turmoil elsewhere
Mike Troy
Editorial Director, Grocery Group
Mike Troy profile picture
Grocers Are America's Most Trusted Businesses
The deadline to enter Progressive Grocer's Impact Award Program is July 16.

If you had your head down the past 18 months, running stores, resolving supply chain issues, hiring staff and keeping up with e-commerce growth, you might have missed the other pandemic.

The global communications firm Edelman conducts a study each year called the “Trust Barometer,” and this year it revealed an epidemic of misinformation and widespread mistrust of societal institutions. It described the situation as a rampant “infodemic,” with institutions such as business, government, NGOs and the media in an environment of information bankruptcy. Without trusted leadership sources to look to, people don’t know where or from whom to get reliable information, according to Edelman, which noted that trust in all news sources sank to record lows.

While other institutions were busy letting Americans down, grocers stood tall when Americans needed them most. Throughout the pandemic, grocers earned respect and trust through millions of daily interactions in stores and online. There were bumps here and there, as the sheer volume of people served increased the odds of occasional disappointment, but nothing remotely close to lumping grocers in with the level of widespread institutional mistrust described by Edelman.

Things are so bad, according to the firm, that it has launched the Edelman Trust Institute, where work with clients will include exploring ways to close trust gaps between society and institutions. Meanwhile, PricewaterhouseCoopers, the big professional services firm, has identified trust as a business opportunity, too. It revealed a three-year, $300 million commitment “to embed trust-based principles into the core of today’s and tomorrow’s business.” One aspect of its plan involves the creation of the PwC Trust Leadership Institute.

Between PwC and Edelman, there’s a lot of money and energy being spent to, as CEO Richard Edelman says, “build a deeper understanding of trust and its linkage to success.”

Does this topic really require a great deal of study? There’s a strong correlation between trust and success. The more you have of the former, the more you’ll have of the latter. Grocers understand this, because, when it comes to selling products that people feed their families, they have to maintain high levels of trust with shoppers and the communities in which they operate, or they won’t be operating there for very long.

Retailers earn trust through daily interactions with shoppers, employees and communities, but that’s not the only way. They also engage in a wide range of environmental, social and governance (ESG) activities that often go unheralded. Grocers are a force for good in ways that aren’t always fully appreciated, because serving others is the foundation on which the food and consumables industry was built.

At Progressive Grocer, we wanted to call attention to the efforts of retailers, as well as suppliers and solution providers, that make up the grocery industry’s trust ecosystem. To recognize the exceptional efforts of industry leaders in nine key ESG areas, we created the Impact Awards. This program will amplify their accomplishments, highlight innovative approaches and further inspire the industry at large to greatness. We call this approach “honoring exceptionalism.”

Trust may be in short supply in other sectors of the economy and certain institutions, but that’s not the case in the grocery world. We look forward to highlighting some of the industry’s most exceptional efforts when we gather in person in early November in Orlando for Progressive Grocer's Grocery Industry Week.

To nominate a deserving company for the Impact Awards, click here

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