- The Sage Project is a new web-based platform that could impact how consumers access and digest food information and how manufacturers format and share that information with consumers.
- Sage deconstructs information from thousands of fresh and packaged food products. It then repackages the informaton into interactive, personalized and easily digestible blurbs of information consumers commonly find on food labels, such as calories, nutrients and ingredients.
- The app goes beyond the typical ingredients list to not only tell consumers what is in the product they're buying, but also what those ingredients are and do and where they originate. Other information might include exercise equivalents that indicate what activities consumers must do to burn off the calories they just consumed, annotated lists of allergens, and nutrient content organized into small infographics.
Sage Project stands alongside SmartLabel as another way manufacturers can communicate food information to consumers beyond their product label and website. Product labels provide limited real estate for manufacturers to communicate certain information about ingredients, sourcing, processing and other aspects of creating a product and bringing it to market. Web-based platforms like Sage Project and SmartLabel offer more easily scalable ways for manufacturers to share all the information consumers demand today.
Sage Project takes the concept of transparency and sharing food information one step further by making this information more easily digestible and understandable through interactive visuals. Visual media have changed the ways consumers seek and share information, including food and products they buy. Consumers may start to expect information shared in more visually appealing ways as manufacturers become more transparent about their products and business practices to build trust with consumers.
Manufacturers should establish a balance with the understanding that they could potentially overwhelm consumers with too much information. A recent report from the Center for Food Integrity also found that consumers tend to look for different information in different places, such as on product labels versus company or third-party websites, which could factor into companies' transparency strategies.
Sage Project, SmartLabel and QR codes are a few of many ways manufacturers can communicate food-related information to consumers. But ultimately, manufacturers should "go out of your way to listen to your customers and then respond based on what their needs actually are, not what you think they are," Sam Slover, cofounder and CEO of the Sage Project, recently told Food Dive.