CSIRO research shows egg industry continues to build trust amidst COVID-19

Person holding egg

  • In 2020 there has been a significant increase in trust in the egg industry, with all measures rising an average of 4 points year on year from 2018
  • More than 6 in 10 Australians have expressed trust in the egg industry to act responsibly which has risen by 4% since 2019
  • 4 in 5 Australians say that ‘having a safe, reliable supply of eggs is comforting’ during the pandemic

A new report from Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, reveals that Australians’ trust in the egg industry has again increased this year, showcasing how the industry continues to emerge as a leader in community trust.

Trust in the industry across all measures has risen an average of 4 per cent each year from the baseline 2018 national survey, with more than 6 in 10 Australians in 2020 saying that they trust the egg industry to act responsibly (64.2%) and do what is right (62.8%). More than half (57.3%) of the 5,008 Australians surveyed in 2020 also said they trust the industry to act in the best interests of society. Moreover, average levels of trust (3.72) is higher relative to trust levels across Australia’s rural industries sector overall (3.42)[i].

For the third year in a row, the main driver of trust in the egg industry was its responsiveness to community concerns, which has significantly improved year on year from 2018 to 2020. Responsiveness ratings of the industry rose again, this time to a greater degree than previous years, with 69 per cent of Australians agreeing that the Australian egg industry is prepared to change its practices in response to community concerns, up from 64.4 per cent in 2019 and 61.4 per cent in 2018. In 2020, 69.2 per cent of Australians also agreed that the Australian egg industry listens to and respects community opinions, up from 62.7 per cent in 2019 and 61.5 per cent in 2018.

Dr Kieren Moffat, CSIRO Senior Research Scientist, said “In 2018, Australian Eggs engaged the CSIRO to bring the voice of the Australian community into the heart of the Australian egg industry. Over the subsequent three years, we have conducted a comprehensive annual national survey of Australian community perspectives on a range of issues related to the egg industry.”

“The 2020 data was important for several reasons. Chief among these was to determine if changes observed between 2018 and 2019 continued in the same direction through 2020. In 2020, the key finding from our work was that trust and acceptance in the Australian egg industry improved significantly once again, making that a consistent and statistically significant trend over time.”

Rowan McMonnies, Managing Director of Australian Eggs, said “It’s great to see that the egg industry’s responsiveness to community priorities is valued by Australians and is improving trust ratings over time.”

“The CSIRO has delivered a recipe for success and the industry has responded with tangible solutions that reflect priorities identified by the community. Having trust to increase again this year will add momentum to this process.”

This year, the timing of the survey coincided with one of the most challenging times for our country and the world, the COVID-19 pandemic. Data collection occurred between April and May and offered an opportunity to take account of and document the impacts of the pandemic on community attitudes towards the egg industry.

According to the research, 3 in 4 (75.8%) Australians said that the COVID-19 pandemic has made them more aware of the importance of food security in Australia, with 4 in 5 agreeing that producing eggs for Australia is an essential service (86.2%), and that ‘having a safe, reliable supply of eggs is comforting’ during the pandemic (80.5%).

“It’s clear that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased community awareness of the importance of food safety and security in Australia. But what we can also see is that on key measures like community trust, the 2020 data continues a positive trend for the egg industry independent of the effects of the pandemic,” said Dr Moffat.

“This new research shows that right now, for Australians, providing safe, nutritious, affordable and secure food staples, like eggs, is more important than ever. We know the role of eggs in the Australian diet is important, with 85 percent of Australians relying on eggs as an important staple food, but community members are also very invested in how safe those eggs are,” said Mr McMonnies.

The research found that Australians felt that egg production standards remain high in the country, with 86 per cent of Australians agreeing that eggs produced in Australia adhere to strict food safety standards and 84 per cent agreeing that the response of the Australia egg industry to outbreaks of Salmonella are effective in protecting public health.

“The Australian egg industry is extremely proactive in working with authorities to ensure that there are strong food safety and biosecurity measures in place. It’s good to see that Australians recognise the efforts of the egg industry to prioritise their safety,” said Mr McMonnies.

The research is the third annual cycle of community engagement to inform the Australian Egg Industry Sustainability Framework.

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