This has been a year of significant change for the CPG and retail industries. The first update to the Nutrition Facts Panel since the 90s, the evolving definition of the term healthy, growing transparency demands from consumers, and the launch of the SmartLabel™ initiative brought transparency center stage in 2016. As we head into 2017, we expect to see a continued trends towards transparency with the innovators and early adopters seeing early returns on their investment in transparency. Here are some of our key learnings of 2016:
1. We are in the Midst of a Food Revolution
Mobile technology and ubiquitous connectivity have created an expectation among consumers for on-demand, specific information about everything from medicine, to sports, to child psychology. Their ability to access and curate detailed food product information has not kept pace; and yet, consumers’ awareness of, desire and need for this exact information has only increased as technology has advanced. Consumers expect transparency but don’t think brands are delivering.
We have reached a new landscape of loyalty, where brands that can meet consumer expectations for product information, delivered instantly via digital channels, will develop a new dynamic of trust by offering convenience and long-term value. Learn more about the food revolution, here.
2. Transparency Leads to Increased Brand Loyalty and Perceived Brand Worth
Brands and manufacturers that embrace and consistently deliver transparency stand to gain much in the way of business success. The 2016 Label Insight Transparency ROI Study reveals that increased product transparency directly correlates to increased consumer loyalty, so much so, that consumers (73 percent!) are willing to pay more for transparent brands.
Learn more about the way transparency impacts consumer behavior here.
3. Transparency Offers a Huge Opportunity for Private Label Brands
Increasingly, the distinction between big-name and private label brands is diminishing. Gone are the days of buying products solely based on name recognition or marketing dominance. In fact, Label Insight’s 2016 Food Revolution Study shows that consumers value healthy ingredients 4 times as much as brand recognition.
This provides a huge opportunity for private label brands to positively distinguish themselves through ingredient storytelling as well as providing consumers with the detailed product information they seek. Read more about the opportunity for private label brands, here.
4. Consumers Want to Access Detailed Product Information, Digitally
Consumers are seeking far more information about the products they use and consumer than would physically fit on a package label - such as where ingredients were sourced, how they were grown, and how the animals and workers and environments were treated that brought it to our plate. In order to curate this information, the majority of consumers (88 percent) are interested in accessing this information digitally, to ensure they have the information they’re looking for at their fingertips.
How can brands best provide this information digitally to consumers? Participating in the SmartLabel transparency initiative is quickly becoming the standard for the industry. Learn more about the way consumers are interested in accessing digital product information.
5. Millennial Moms are Leading the Charge for Product Transparency
The $200 billion (combined spending power of millennial moms) question is -- what do millennial moms want and how can brands deliver? Marketing’s Most Wanted millennial moms are an invaluable target demographic who are tech-savvy and health-conscious, and are looking for brands that provide them with the full extent of information they need in order to make the best purchase decisions to meet their needs and the needs of their families. Find out more about millennial moms and the way transparency impacts their purchasing decisions.
6. Granular Product Information is Making Brands Smarter
Beginning with the basic product information on packages today, Label Insight deconstructs the 200-300 points of data on a package label and transforms them into 17,000 hyper-granular data points.
Access to this granular data allows retailers to more accurately respond to a wide range of questions from consumers, better understand what’s driving sales and differentiate themselves from other brands. To learn more about the benefits of granular product information for retailers, as well as for food brands, click here.
7. Your Product Data is a Reflection of Your Brand
Right now, millions of shoppers are typing your brand into the search bar on their smart phones, and they aren’t looking to watch your latest TV spot. Consumers are actively seeking detailed product information before they buy, and their ability to find complete, accurate data has a dramatic effect on their purchase decisions, both today, and over time. Consumers' first contact with your brand is increasingly via mobile search, not advertising. What does your product data say about your brand?
The extent of product data you make available, and the accessibility of the platforms through which you provide it will impact how consumers perceive your overall brand. Find out more about how product data is a reflection of your brand here.
8. Early Adopters of SmartLabel Can Learn from the Successful Implementations of the Innovators
Implementing SmartLabel can be an involved process, with many different considerations to address. To start, SmartLabel specifications may not always align with the way brands list their ingredients and claims. These small details can create big waves as the brand seeks a solution that will work internally and comply with SmartLabel. Similarly, brands must be realistic about the resources needed across functions, including regulatory, legal, R&D and marketing. Check out implementation best practices from Unilever.
9. SmartLabel Adoption is Accelerating
Today, thousands of brands are participating in the SmartLabel initiative and the list continues to grow. View a list of the brands currently participating, here.