Transparency…a huge opportunity for food brands.

Consumers are demanding much more product transparency, forcing food brands and producers to re-think how and where they provide the information consumers crave. The recently released “2016 Label Insight Food Revolution Study” took an in-depth look at how consumers view their food purchase decisions and what kind of information they expect brands to provide. Here are some highlights from the study which surveyed over 1500 food shoppers.

Source of information.  Only 12 percent of those surveyed named brands as their primary and trusted source for information about food product ingredients and benefits. Yet, over 65% of them expect brands and producers to take responsibility for providing this information. Clearly, there is a huge gap between consumer expectation and what brands are actually delivering in terms of product information. While consumers place a high value on transparency in their purchase decisions, they do not think that brands are providing all of the information they need nor do they like the ways in which brands deliver product information.

Consumer uncertainty.  An overwhelming majority of those surveyed, 80 percent, indicated that recently they had, in fact, consumed a food product that contained an ingredient they did not recognize or that they have seen on package ingredient lists before, but they do not know what that ingredient is or why it is part of the product formulation. More importantly, they do want to know what these unrecognized ingredients are.

Informed consumers.  Food shoppers want to make informed decisions about what they purchase and feed their families. Almost 95 percent of those surveyed said that it is very important to them that food brands and producers are transparent about all of the ingredients in their products and how those products are made.

Brand loyalty.  Over 80 percent of those surveyed indicated that they see additional value in more access to more detailed product information. In addition, some 35 percent indicated that they would not hesitate to switch brands if another brand provided product transparency. Clearly, there is a lot at stake for food brands in providing more detailed information that is easy to find and understand.

The mandated nutrition facts update provides an excellent opportunity for food brands to re-evaluate their formulations, labels, marketing messages and package design in addition to nutrition facts updates. It is clear that consumers will reward those brands that respond to their needs for more information and transparency.

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