- A new report from Label Insight and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) revealed that shoppers are increasingly demanding transparency and a closer connection to their food — so much so that 75% say they'll switch to a brand that provides more in-depth product information, beyond what’s provided on the physical label. When shoppers were asked the same question in 2016, just 39% agreed they would switch brands.
- The report noted that among the 47% of American households that have someone following a diet or health program, 61% say they're willing to pay more for products with in-depth product information and 89% said they'll switch to a new product if they're not satisfied with the information that's there.
- Twenty-six percent of consumers surveyed said they had shopped for groceries online in the past thirty days. Among these, 76% said they expect to see more product information when shopping online than in-store.
Across generations and across platforms, American shoppers are insisting on having a clear view into the food that they are consuming.
Shopper demand for transparency, which only seems to be getting stronger, is fed by the plethora of information available at a consumers' fingertips. Recent research has predicted that the food traceability market will be worth $14 billion by 2019 and the trend has radically changed the way food products are marketed, turning the focus onto the manufacturer's ingredients, processes and backstory instead of advertising alone.
Retailers have taken note of this trend, but they should continue to track its evolution and dig into what it means for various consumer groups. For Boomers and Gen X-ers transparency this means ingredients lists and nutritional information, according to the FMI/Label Insight research. Millennials, while also paying attention to those factors, tend to give more weight than older generations to allergen information, certifications and claims, animal welfare, fair trade and labor practices. However, the importance of transparency overall was consistent across generations.
Similarly, most consumers are willing to do the research required to learn more about the products they're perusing. From taking out smartphones in the grocery aisle to doing a quick Google search during an online order, shoppers want easy access to information regarding health benefits, ingredients, dietary claims and more.
Grocers and brands should pay attention because transparency is no longer optional. With more than seven in 10 shoppers saying they are willing to switch from their usual brand to one that provides more in-depth information, it is worth investigating how to provide shoppers with this insight. Transparency can build consumer trust and boost loyalty at a time when retailers competition is as fierce as ever.
How can brands get on board? By getting creative and listening to their customers. Earlier this year, Hershey partnered with Sourcemap to show consumers where the components of Hershey's Milk Chocolate with Almonds and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups came from. Additionally, freeze-dried fruit company Crunchies includes this traceability information on all of its packaging. Cargill even tested blockchain technology that allowed consumers to trace their individual Thanksgiving turkey from the store where they bought it to the farm that raised it.
As this trend continues, the shelf life is bound to be short for remaining food and beverage brands that are not ready and willing to be more transparent.