New Survey: Shoppers Reported that Traditional Package Labels = NOT Enough Details

In a national study conducted, it showed that 70% of shoppers need to know more about the products they are buying off grocery shelves. They are no longer satisfied with the traditional package labels that come with the item they purchased. In fact, they want to know more beyond these labels.

As such, it has accentuated the usefulness of a new digital tool that makes it easy for shoppers to get access to detailed info on household, personal care, beverage, food and a host of other products sold at supermarkets. This tool is known as the SmartLabel®, and more than 28,000 products are already using the device.

smart label traditional label not enough details packagingWith SmartLabel, shoppers have access to a host of information about the product they’re buying with a touch of their fingertips. It contains far more information than the usual on-package label can ever hold. Information can include product ingredients, where it was sourced, what it does, and even why it was used in the product. Other relevant information can also be accessed via SmartLabel like the product’s environmental impact, animal treatment during the development process, how the product was produced, directions for use, and even a detailed description on allergens.

How to Use SmartLabel®

It is reasonably easy to use so long as you have a Smartphone. Access to this information is instantaneous. All you need to do is use the SmartLabel app to scan the QR code of the product, and like magic, all the information appears.

The Launch of Consumer Education Campaign on Evaluating Package Labels

Since product info for consumers is very accessible via the SmartLabel, in the next several months’ retailers and manufacturers are commencing a campaign to educate consumers. They are hoping to increase people’s awareness about this source of true information on the products they are buying and how to use it.

In early 2017, product participation in SmartLabel was at 4,000 items, and by 2018 it has grown seven-fold. Each week, more and more products are joining SmartLabel—increasing the support for the consumer education program.

In essence, it is believed that retailers are viewed by consumers as the trusted source for information on the products that they sell. This digital disclosure enables the retailer to connect the consumer more closely to the foods and products they buy. Therefore, the education campaign not only raises awareness that there is an app that buyers can turn to for detailed information on products they buy, but it is also a way for buyers to feel more connected to the items they support or use.

According to one user of SmartLabel, Natalia Johnson, the thing she loves most about this digital tool is the ease of use and the convenience. Since she rarely shops without her phone, whenever she wants to get to know a product more, she whips out her phone and scans the QR code.

Product package labels will need to adapt to be clean and full of information on what makes up the product. We look forward to seeing consumers get more information on the food they are eating and how some manufacturers are striving to make it better for you!

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Developer Creates More Visual Food Data With Interactive App

More consumers are reading food labels than ever before. Customers expect packaged foods to contain the appropriate and promised ingredients. A developer has reinvented food data by launching a new web app, Sage Project. Co-founded by Sam Slover and backed by the FDA, the Sage Project is an online platform that gives food data and labels a new visual understanding of what we are eating.


The Sage Project

The project deconstructs thousands of food products–both fresh and packaged–into a personalized, interactive platform that contains necessary information you would find in conventional food labels. The information accessed with this app includes nutrients, calories, allergens, vitamins, and ingredients. But aside from providing food data, the developer wanted to communicate the nutritional content and what it means in the context of the health of an individual. The app also contains information on how it affects the fitness goals and activity levels of a person.

The app itemizes all the ingredients regarding weight in a list. While it is straightforward enough, the developer also ensured that the ingredients and nutrients also change depending on the serving size. This gives consumers a clear idea of how much of a particular ingredient or nutrient they are getting from the food in a specific amount.

Why People Are Not Reading Food Labels

There is a big reason why most consumers do not read food labels. While it takes some time getting used to reading food labels, conventional food labels are downright boring to look at. In a study conducted by researchers from the University of Minnesota, they revealed that one of the biggest reasons why people are not looking at labels is because they do not have strong visuals.

To solve this problem, the Sage Project deconstructed the traditional food label into an infographic. A list of the five most abundant nutrients of the food product is located at the top of the page, while an analysis of the nutritional content is found beneath it.

The app also features the types of exercises needed to burn off a particular food item when eaten; while an annotated list of ingredients including allergens is found in the lower part of the screen. Since most of the consumers are not familiar with some of the ingredients used in making a product, there are information icons beside each ingredient that you can scroll through to understand that particular ingredient better.


The Drawbacks to The Sage Project Food Data

The Sage Project provides a lot of information, which is one of its drawbacks. Some people just want their food labels to be straightforward. With so much information, some people may find the entire app overwhelming. However, the visual appeal of the data makes it easy to comprehend for the more data savvy generation, millennials.


According to Angela Lemond from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, consumers might experience information overload when using this app. But nevertheless, this app can be customized to fit any customers’ dietary restrictions as well as health goals. What matters is that this app can help a lot of people make the right health decisions when it comes to their food.

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Consumers Want Transparency in Nutrition Labels

Consumer awareness is increasing; they are now making demands that have never been seen in the food and beverage industry. Accessibility to information is driving this move as customers are now aware of how different ingredients affect their health. They are avoiding foods that can cause harm to their bodies as well as the environment. Consumer food companies must take action and provide more transparency in the nutrition labels on their products.


The Future of Nutrition Labels

Trends in consumer preferences were captured in a recent research study by Packaged Facts, “Nutritional Labeling and Clean Labels“. The study found that 87 percent of the customers reported looking at nutrition labels and a significant number of Americans actively seek out nutritional guidelines and information.

The study also found out that 67 percent of American consumers preferred to buy groceries which have simple and few ingredients. Almost the same percentage reported taking the ingredient statement into consideration when they are making decisions to purchase packaged food and beverages.

Clean Label Trend Promotes Product Overhaul

The FDA requires that companies who are manufacturing food and beverages to provide nutrition facts and labels. The companies are going a step further, prompted by the consumer trends; they are developing entirely new products which do not have artificial ingredients and food colors. They are now making products that are safe for consumers and provide information on the nutrition label, which will help them identify safe foods and beverages. The trends are pointing to the following: customers will see GMO ingredients off the shelves, and artificial colors and ingredients will no longer be part of traditional products. In the food world, the consumer is the CEO, and the trends dictate that food businesses will have to adapt to survive.

From Kraft Food Group to Nestle USA, the big players in the food and beverages industry are overhauling their production. Nestle USA made an announcement that they would stop the use of artificial flavors and colors in their chocolate candies. Tyson Foods is expected to eliminate the use of antibiotics on their poultry by late next year. Kraft Food Group just like Nestle USA plans to stop using artificial preservatives and colors in their products. Another company that has followed suit is Hershey; the company plans to give customers easy and simple ingredients statement, this will help the customers make easier and healthier decisions in the store.

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Simple Ingredients is the Key to Clean Labels

Food companies are in desperation mode to find simple ingredients that make their products healthier while not impacting the taste. Many have chosen to fortify their products with synthetic vitamins, but is that the answer? No, we need vitamins and essential phytonutrients from food based sources like fruits and vegetables.