- Pure Market is a new e-commerce platform that grades the products it sells on its site using chemistry-based research to test for 400 attributes, including contaminants, pollutants, plasticizers, pesticides and heavy metals, according to a press release sent to Food Dive.
- Although the company only sells products that are graded B- or above, it tests thousands of products and lists their grades on its site.
- The website sells products in categories including baby, food and beverage, household cleaning, health and fitness, personal care and pet food. It expects to expand its product offerings in the coming months.
Food packaging can say many things about a manufacturer's sourcing, processing and ideals, but it doesn't necessarily paint the entire picture of what a product is about. Even though consumers consistently say they want more transparency from brands — research last year found 75% of shoppers would change their buying habits if they were given more information about products' environmental impact, safety and usage — how do they balance the desire to know with the time it takes to do the research?
Pure Market is offering consumers a chance to purchase products that have already been pre-graded in an effort to provide transparency and save time. Although the service just launched, it has reviewed the chemical compositions of several thousand products, with 805 in the food category and another 125 in beverages.
The service rates products in terms of purity, efficacy, accuracy and nutrition. Purity tests the level of contaminants in a product. Efficacy rates how well a product delivers on the promises on its label. Accuracy refers to the contents of the product being consistent with those on the label. Nutrition evaluates the ratio of “good stuff” to “bad stuff,” according to the website.
The rating system is explained on the website, but to fully comprehend the approach, consumers will require an understanding of how the company benchmarks and what exactly it is testing for — something that could take a bit of reading, considering Pure Market tests more than 400 attributes.
Although consumers looking to clean up their grocery lists are likely to be interested in the rating system that Pure Market provides, the service is competing with already established digital product information tools including SmartLabel — backed by industry group the Grocery Manufacturers Association — and HowGood. SmartLabel allows consumers to scan a QR code for instantaneous access to detailed information on ingredients, allergen information, health claims, sustainability practices and how animals are treated from more than 36,000 food, beverage, personal care, household and pet care products. HowGood rates products at dozens of American retailers in terms of sustainability.
While Pure Market offers information similar to what's available on SmartLabel, Pure Market differentiates itself as an e-commerce site with a platform of pre-rated products that consumers can directly order. Rather than indiviidually scanning and evaluating products at the grocery store to take advantage of SmartLabel, using Pure Market could save consumers a significant amount of effort.
One potential stumbling block to wide adoption of Pure Market is convincing brands to promote their appearance in this rating system. There is potential for them to be disappointed with their product ratings — as well as dispute the findings. And adding yet another claim or symbol to packaging to tell consumers a product is Pure Market-approved could be too much to ask, taking up package real estate and risking consumer confusion with a new, unfamiliar symbol.
But if Pure Market’s platform gains popularity, companies that do not willingly participate could be seen as hiding information from the consumer. And there is a likelihood that this service will grow. SmartLabel grew from only 2,000 participating products in 2016 to 36,000 in 2018, according to GMA. Similarly, HowGood has been around for 13 years and is featured on many grocery store shelves, including all of the Giant stores in Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia with a headquarters in Landover, Maryland.
Pure Market is brand new to the e-commerce world. However, with its easy-to-purchase set up that focuses on providing transparency for consumers without all the research, there is certainly potential for the service to grow into a popular market of its own.