Rising Fears Over Ukraine Ripple Effects

Here’s what FGH’s Research and Insights team found when they asked our TrendSpotters community of 300 news-attentive Americans about the impact of the conflict in Ukraine on food and agricultural issues:

  • The deepest concerns center on rising food bills, gas prices and inflation. Democrats in particular are concerned about food shortages impacting the developing world.
  • Both Democrats and Republicans call for greater U.S. self-sufficiency.  Republicans want to increase food and fertilizer production in the U.S. and believe energy costs need to be lower for farmers. Democrats want to see small farmers in particular incentivized to produce. They also worry this conflict could derail the shift to green energy.
  • Engaged Americans are torn over whether Western food manufacturers should continue selling food and dairy products in Russia, with 55% supporting, 32% opposing and 13% not sure. They have empathy for children and parents but believe Russian aggression must be “punished.”
  • The long-term food implication respondents are most concerned about is an exacerbation of the global hunger crisis, followed by ​​shortages in the Middle East and Africa potentially causing social unrest and creating further geopolitical tensions.

So what should businesses and organizations do? 

  • Keep cost of living concerns front and center. Americans are seeing their bills go up and are deeply concerned about the future impacts of inflation. Demonstrate understanding and signal reassurance.
  • Geopolitics accentuates Americans’ focus on “independence.” Americans see the war as highlighting the need for the U.S. to be more self-sufficient. Companies’ communications should balance this desire with what’s feasible and realistic.
  • Get ahead of anxiety over ripple effects. Concerns about global hunger, international relations and national security have the potential to further drive consumer and voter anxiety. Prepare for a range of scenarios.
  • Communicate ESG priorities in a way that acknowledges the state of the world. Immediate concerns around food insecurity and geopolitical tensions may absorb Americans’ attention for the time being, but investor pressure to focus on ESG will remain. Calibrate communications accordingly.

Read the full report here.