IRI and Label Insight are joining forces to give CPG makers and retailers deeper analysis into how products perform from nutrition and ingredient label data.
The partnership will combine IRI's point-of-sale and purchasing data from shopper loyalty cards with product label and ingredient attributes from Label Insight. The result will help food makers and retailers more effectively assess how ingredients and sales interact. With that information, they can craft their production and marketing approaches to keep up with trends in health and wellness, the companies said in a release.
"This partnership advances our mission to not only help consumers understand what they are putting into their bodies, but also assist CPG companies and retailers drive growth and value by better meeting consumers' demands for nutrition label transparency," Ronak Sheth, CEO of Label Insight, said in the release.
This joint effort could help CPG brands and retail outlets take advantage of trends by augmenting IRI's Liquid Data technology platform with new nutrition and ingredient attributes from Label Insight. According to the companies, these attributes will let IRI track and measure sales shopper behavior across ingredients and product labels, including gluten free and those following the clean label trend.
Those attributes represent some of today's most on-trend consumer marketing opportunities — along with transparency and fewer additives such as artificial flavors and colors. According to Innova Market Insights, 91% of U.S. consumers think foods and beverages with recognizable ingredients are healthier for them.
Consumers also increasingly want more information about the food they buy and prepare. A 2018 report from Label Insight and the Food Marketing Institute found 75% of shoppers said they would change to purchasing a brand giving more in-depth product information beyond what's on the label. In 2016, only 39% said the same.
To respond to these developments, manufacturers are switching up recipes to replace unwanted ingredients with those from more natural sources and with names consumers are more likely to recognize. Recent research from Label Insight noted that a majority of consumers would purchase an item with a "natural" label claim. The company also said 21,838 foods and beverages in its database have "all natural" claims on their packaging.
While a number of product reformulations have been relatively successful — such as Campbell Soup deciding in 2015 to phase out artificial flavors and colors in a number of its products in 2015 — others didn't initially work out as well as the manufacturer expected. General Mills decided to make a similar move with its Trix cereal in 2016, but after consumers complained that the healthier version was depressing, the company brought back the classic to provide both options. This level of data may have saved General Mills the effort of reformulating its signature bright cereal, or put Campbell Soup on the path of reformulation quicker.
Using nutrition and ingredient-level data might be useful to help CPG manufacturers and retailers see such trends coming and plan for their arrival. Combining IRI's point-of-sale and purchasing data from shopper loyalty cards with Label Insight's product label and ingredient attributes could be a powerful tool to help with this, as long as the information-gathering process isn't too intrusive and consumers don't end up feeling like guinea pigs.
But if the end result of this new corporate partnership is more useful information to help consumers work their way through ingredients and products and arrive at the best and more healthful decisions, it could be a win-win for all concerned.