by Megan Poinski || Food Dive || July 13, 2017
- Consumers are overwhelmingly interested in more transparency in food products, according to a new study from Response Media. Study results say almost everyone finds transparency important in food products — 99% for fresh food and 98% for packaged food — and 70% said their purchases are always or often influenced by transparency content.
- Almost all respondents said they would pay more for more transparent products — 99% for fresh food and 98% for packaged food. Demographically, 100% of millennial moms said they would pay more.
- Many different areas of transparency are viewed as important by consumers. More than nine out of 10 said they want to see transparency in ingredients and their sources, as well as more in-depth information on them. The same proportion also said production and manufacturing processes, shipping and handling, and sustainability efforts are important to them. The largest group — 92% — wants to see this information on packaging, but 79% would also like to see it on in-store signage.
Transparency has been one of the biggest buzzwords in the food business in recent years. It’s driven product reformulations, moved producers to utilize more sustainable practices and been a boon for small upstart companies (while wreaking havoc on the bottom lines of more traditional “Big Food” companies). As many in the industry have said, it is no longer an option — it’s a requirement. This study underscores its importance as producers, manufacturers and retailers move forward in today’s industry.
A year ago, Label Insight found manufacturers who adopt “complete transparency” would be rewarded with loyalty of about 94% of consumers. That’s important to note, as grocery retailers are seeing transparency play a bigger role in where people choose to shop. A recent report by the Food Marketing Institute indicates growing shopper loyalty for stores where transparency is a priority. As the report states, consumers are not necessarily just interested in beneficial claims.They want the truth, and as FMI President and CEO Leslie Sarasin said while presenting the report, “[consumers] can handle the truth.”
Shopper demand for transparency, which only seems to be getting stronger, is fanned by the plethora of information available at a consumers’ fingertips. It’s radically changed the way food products are marketed, turning the focus onto the manufacturer’s ingredients, processes and backstory instead of jingles or memorable scenes showing how products impact consumers. Initiatives to drive transparency, such as SmartLabel, are growing in the market. And 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.