food label, product transparency
A nutritional label for healthly food choices.

Label Insight recently released its 2016 Transparency ROI study, and the results show that product transparency is a central issue for today’s food consumers. Read on for highlights about what information consumers want, how they want it, and the ways transparency can affect brand success.

Transparency can have a positive impact on brand preference and loyalty, even if it costs more

According to the survey, 73% of consumers would be willing to pay more for a product that offers complete transparency. Further, such products can stimulate brand preference and brand loyalty.

Of total respondents:

  • 39% would switch to a new brand if it offered full product transparency.
    • 81% would consider a brand’s entire portfolio of products if they switched to that brand because of transparency.
  • 94% are likely to be more loyal to a brand that offers complete transparency.
    • 56% would be brand loyal for life if a product offered complete transparency.

Product transparency is important across all food categories

Survey participants made it clear that product transparency is significant for all sectors of the food industry.

  • Dairy ranked highest, with 97% of respondents saying transparency was important in that sector.
  • The dairy category was followed closely by meat (96%) and produce (96%).
  • Snacks and baby food ranked lowest, but a large majority of respondents (89%) still said transparency is important in those categories.

Ingredients and nutritional information are most vital

According to the survey, the factors consumers look for most when determining whether a brand is transparent include:

  • A list of ingredients (77% of respondents)
  • In-depth nutritional information (54% of respondents)
  • Certifications and claims (51% respondents).

Somewhat less significant are a listing of known allergens (47%), information about production (40%), information about sourcing (35%), and information about handling (31%).

Consumers may not always believe a brand’s claims, but there’s room to build trust

Because consumers don’t necessarily trust product claims, they often look elsewhere for more information.

  • Only 51% of survey participants believe a brand when it claims to be “healthy” or “nutritious.”
  • 91% of respondents personally verify such claims, primarily by:
    • Checking the label (71%)
    • Searching third-party websites (42%)
    • Visiting the brand’s website (27%)

However, labeling and other transparency information can help build brand trust.

  • 78% of respondents said that complete label information causes them to trust a product more.
  • 56% would trust a brand more if it offered additional information about how the product is produced, handled, or sourced.

Consumers are open to digital and SmartLabel technology

88% of respondents expressed interest in accessing a complete set of product information digitally, mostly through:

  • The brand’s website (50%)
  • A mobile app (35%)
  • A third-party website (30%).

79% of survey participants are likely to use SmartLabel technology.

  • If a brand participated in the SmartLabel program, 44% of respondents said they would trust that brand more, and 55% said they’d be more willing to try the brand.

Millennial moms are leading the way

Transparency is particularly important to Millennial moms (mothers aged 18-35), and they are especially open to digital labeling.

  • Compared to the general population, more Millennial moms link transparency to brand trust and brand loyalty.
  • They are also more likely to use SmartLabel technology or a mobile app to verify brand claims.
  • 86% of Millennial moms would pay more for a product that offered complete transparency, compared to 73% of respondents overall.

More details are available in the full report.

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