Why We Love to Hate Big Food

CLIENT: Look East

The Challenge

Today’s food system is experiencing a disconnect between those who grow, process and market our food and those who consume it. As the chasm widens, the food system must navigate a delicate balance to gain consumer trust. 

The Results

Our Approach

Charlie Arnot is the food system’s thought leader on how to grow trust. He has experience and expertise in how to help people understand each other and what matters to them.

Charlie set out to compile his experiences in building trust  and the result is the book “Why We Love to Hate Big Food.”

The book starts with a look at why Americans have become distrustful of institutions and why that attitude encompasses the food system.  With real-life accounts, he explores what can be done to restore trust and takes a look at what’s ahead for food companies, supermarkets and restaurants as technology and consumer demand drive radical change.   

Charlie offers a frank assessment for food system stakeholders on where missteps have been costly, such as an account of how one food blogger introduced consumers to “pink slime,” which prompted changes in supermarkets, menus and even USDA policy. He also shares hopeful insight about how the food system is getting it right, such as farmers who are effectively using social media to engage with consumers, and how to move the conversation forward. 

The Results

Size Matters: Why We Love to Hate Big Food, published by Springer, offers eight chapters loaded with examples, insights and expertise in communicating the story of today’s food system. It is available now from Amazon. 



“Charlie Arnot is the only consumer analyst who can explain to agribusiness executives why consumers distrust them – and not make the executives angry.” – Jerry Hagstrom, The Hagstrom Report, #1 on his list of the Best Ag Books of 2018

“Great book! Thank you for writing it. Who knew the ‘Summer of Love’ would breed a season of distrust? Terrific!”

“I love the realistic and straight forward approach, science is essential but it can not be the only tool we use to drive change in the food system.”

“I’ve done a quick read – and some of your examples, such as Ed and the Hallmark episode, brought back some painful and lesson-teaching memories. And your nugget on the question we all need to ponder – science tells us “can” but all of us in the ag family need to equally ponder the “should” regarding how we discuss what farmers and ranchers do on their operations.  As frustrating as the HSUS/EWG/NRDC et al are at sensationalizing a twist of the facts, it is way the chess board is set up today.  Responding is not a strategy, it is a tactic.  Thank you for sharing and for enlightening.”