GROCERY WARS – “THE QUEST FOR PRODUCT TRANSPARENCY!”
Times have changed in the food sector.In the past, the common practice was to create a food list and go grocery shopping. No longer can you just slap a label on a product and expect it to fly off the shelves. Consumers’ health is front and centre. Today they wish to know your products ingredients, their source and how the product is manufactured. Welcome to the world of Product Transparency. In fact, transparency is emerging as a critical consideration on the shopper’s path to purchase. While ingredient information is vital, it’s only part of the honest and authentic relationship shoppers want to have with the products and services they purchase. The “Label Insight 2016 Transparency ROI Study” reports that 94 percent of consumers say it’s important that brands and manufacturers are transparent about what’s in their food and how it’s made.
Product transparency is “the practice of disclosing detailed information about products and services including what they contain, how they were produced and where they come from”. (Mr. John Spacey, What is Product Transparency, November 2016). Consumers seek out this information in order to determine whether your brand is trustworthy with 56% of consumers stating additional product information inspires more trust in a given brand. So what triggered the shift? James Russo, SVP, Global Consumer Insights at Nielsen offers his perspective. “While economic concerns remain in the forefront for consumers, health and wellness interests continue to increase in importance”.
There are a variety of factors that consumers use to determine whether a brand is transparent. Chart 1 outlines the Top 5 factors that consumers use to determine whether a food manufacturer is being transparent.
Factors That Determine if Food Manufacturer is Being Transparent
A brand’s transparency is not relegated to their website. Consumers also seek out this information out on the brand’s product packaging label. According to a study undertaken by Innova Research, they revealed:
- 75% of consumers claim to read the ingredient labels of food products.
- 91% of consumers contend those food products that contain ingredients they recognize are healthier.
Chart 2 outlines in terms of transparency in labeling, what do consumers expect of their food providers?
In Terms of Transparency in Labeling, What do you Expect of Your Food Providers?
Label Insight is a US based firm that was founded with the mission of helping consumers understand what’s in the product they use and consume. Per their CMO, “Label Insight has long believed that there is a tangible return on investment with transparency of product information between brands and consumers,” said Patrick Moorhead, CMO of Label Insight.
As part of Label Insight’s 2016 Transparency ROI Study, they confirmed: consumer demand for product transparency is on the rise, and brands that fulfill this demand by providing comprehensive product information are poised to increase their revenue, market share and brand loyalty.
Their study also revealed:
- 40% say they would switch to a new brand if it offered full product transparency. Once a consumer has switched to a brand in favour of increased transparency, he or she is likely to remain loyal long term.
- 81% of consumers say they would consider a brand’s entire portfolio of products if they switched to that brand as a result of increased transparency.
- 73% say they would be willing to pay more for a product that offers complete transparency in all attributes.
- 94% of respondents say they are likely to be loyal to a brand that offers complete transparency.
Impact for Business’!
Simply put, transparency has very positive implications for brands — fostering product and brand loyalty, leading to more market share and increasing the product’s worth in a consumer’s mind.
 Path to Purchase Institute Launches Transparency IQ, Progressive Grocer, 2017
Here’s How Important Product Transparency is for Your Business, Mr. Kenny Kline
 Product Transparency Means Going Beyond the Label, Kira Karapetian, September 2016
Food Makers Bulk Up on Simple Ingredients as Consumers Embrace Clean Labels, Food Dive 2017
 A Company’s Food Guide to What Consumers Care About in the Age of Transparency, FoodLogiQ, 2017
 How Does Product Transparency Affect Consumer Behaviour, www.preparedfoods.com