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Hannah Polk

By: Hannah Polk on March 31st, 2021

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How Product Attribute Data Combined with Subject Matter Expertise Delivers Value For Your Business

Trends & Research  |  E-commerce  |  Data Engineering  |  Subject Matter Expertise

With over 200 million shoppers adhering to a particular diet or health-related eating program, the importance of a balanced diet and exercise is a no-brainer. This is even more obvious to brands and retailers who have a massive opportunity to deliver the right product data to the right consumer at the right time. With just data alone, brands and retailers are falling short of the expectations and personalization shoppers have come to expect. Label Insight helps to bridge this gap, combining robust product data with the nutritional and dietary expertise needed to ensure accuracy and data completeness. 

In honor of the last day of National Nutrition Month, Hannah Polk, one of our Solutions Consultants will take us through how important this expertise is and what it means for brands and retailers. 

What does Data have to do with Nutrition? 

As a registered dietitian working for a data company, I often get asked “what does data have to do with nutrition?” or “why would a data company need a registered dietitian?” The simple answer is - if you are purely looking at data, a registered dietitian or other subject matter expert is not needed, however, if you are looking to derive credible insights from data in a particular industry, a team of subject matter experts is essential. 

Label Insight’s subject matter experts and the insights that this team is able to derive are really what sets the company apart from other industry related data providers. This team goes beyond the data that is available on a products’ package to derive attribution based on the nutrition fact panel and ingredient statement.  

What is a subject matter expert?

A subject matter expert, or SME, is an individual with a specific expertise and responsibility in a particular area or field. Label Insight’s data captures all packaged goods, including consumables such as food & beverage, over-the-counter medicine, and supplements; primary applications like personal care, feminine hygiene products, and baby care products; and secondary applications like pet food, household cleaners, and household goods. Label Insight employs experts from diverse backgrounds to accurately and effectively deliver insights for all these various product types. This group of experts consists of six dietitians, two chemists, one licensed cosmetologist and esthetician, and others with health science backgrounds. The experience and expertise surrounding our SMEs spans departments such as regulatory compliance, product development, commercialization, food manufacturing, product chemistry, nutrition counseling, diabetes education, and more. 

Why are subject matter experts so important? 

Label claims and certifications are the story that brands want a consumer to know about their product, however, product real estate is valuable, and too often brands can’t tell every available story due to the physical limitations of package space. Additionally, there are stories that brands may not want to convey to their consumers, such as when products contain artificial ingredients or unrecognizable additives. Although exposing these negatively perceived characteristics may not paint the brand in the best light, these are product traits that both retailers and consumers want and have a right to know. 

This is why Label Insight goes beyond the package claims to derive attribution directly from the ingredient string or nutrition fact panel, to provide an additional level of product transparency. In order to uncover these insights, a strong level of ingredient, nutrient, and regulatory knowledge is needed, which is where the SMEs come in. For example, to determine if a product qualifies for a derived attribute like Gluten Free, a SME queries the entire ingredient database to identify gluten containing ingredients. A gluten containing ingredient may have thousands of different identities such as wheat, barley, whole wheat flour, rye, etc., and it’s up to the SME to uncover all of these to produce an all-encompassing attribute.  

Uncover Qualifying Products Beyond the Label and Increase Discoverability

Let's jump into an example. Gluten free is one of the most commonly claimed attributes found on packages and is continuing to gain popularity as consumers become more aware of their intolerances, and as the health and wellness industry continues to expand. Currently in the Label Insight database of about 420,000 food and beverage products, 1,209 products include the phrase “gluten free” within their product title, and 86,295 products are making a gluten free claim on their package. When taking the analysis a step further to analyze the ingredient string for ingredients containing gluten Label Insight is able to unlock 185% more products that qualify as gluten free. Retailers are no longer limited to only delivering their gluten free shoppers with the products making a gluten free claim, they can now unlock 185% more products that qualify for this attribute and offer a much more competitive product assortment. 

When we start to look at attributes that are more niche or less frequently claimed, such as low sodium, the added depth of attribution gets deeper and deeper. For example, in the Label Insight database 11,278 products are currently making a Label Claim of Low Sodium, however, when using the nutrition fact panel to derive this information, Label Insight is able to unlock 695% more products.  

To summarize, the Label Insight SMEs are a team of industry experts that can transform a product label into thousands of actionable insights for both brands and retailers. Label Insight collects all on-package data to provide extensive attribution around claims and certifications, however, it doesn’t stop here. Label Insight’s team of SMEs leverage the ingredient statement and nutrition fact panel to derive attribution that goes far beyond claims and certifications to uncover thousands of additional insights, and give retailers the flexibility they need to provide their customers with product transparency, enabling them to make more informed product choices. 

About Hannah Polk

Hannah Polk, RD, LDN is a licensed and registered dietitian based in Chicago. In her current role as a solutions consultant at Label Insight, Hannah supports retailers by crafting and applying high order attribution and product transparency to products in-store and online in order to drive growth. With access to Label Insight data and insights, retailers can make data-driven decisions across their organization and continue to increase revenue and shopper loyalty. Hannah is passionate about healthy, transparent, and better-for-you products and aims to help optimize the consumer shopping experience. Hannah takes pride in being a subject matter and trend expert in the food and beverage, pet, and personal care industries.