Executive Briefings

How to Anticipate Consumer Transparency Demands

Analyst Insight: Soaring consumer expectations and new legislation for GMO labeling and food safety modernization are driving a major transformation in the food and beverage industry, and rapidly creating a new industry normal. Supply-chain standards and new packaging innovations can help industry keep up with and even anticipate the demands of increasingly engaged consumers. – Angela Fernandez, VP of Retail Grocery and Foodservice, GS1 US

The need for complete and accurate product information is imperative in the food industry since public health and safety depends upon the industry's ability to trace a foodborne illness outbreak back to the source. In addition, today's consumers are concerned about the food they buy and eat - ingredients, nutritional makeup, and much more. Is it genetically modified? Gluten-free? Nut-free? Organic? Locally grown? The breadth of questions consumers have about their food is requiring suppliers to provide deeper levels of transparency to stay competitive.

Delivering on the demand for more and better information will drive unprecedented industry collaboration on data quality, consistency in product attribute descriptors, and product identifiers in order to be understood and matched across the entire supply chain. Accurate data is essential since incorrect product information claims will cause consumers and trading partners to quickly lose confidence in a brand.

Standards Enable Deeper Transparency

Forward-thinking industry stakeholders are exploring and leveraging the standardized sharing of product images and attributes to help the retail grocery industry enable better transparency. The platform on which this collaboration is built is the industry’s common use of GS1 Standards for the unique identification of products. Suppliers and retailers using proprietary data systems that do not leverage interoperable standards can cause inconsistent data exchanges and can result in incorrect and out-of-date product information, damaging consumers’ trust in a brand.

How Transparency Drives Sales

In a recent Label Insight survey, 94 percent of respondents indicated they are likely to be loyal to a brand that offers complete product information. And 81 percent of consumers said they would consider a brand's entire range of products if they switched to that brand as a result of increased transparency. According to IRI research, retailers that embrace transparency have the opportunity to grow sales up to 25 percent faster than average.

With such strong indications of what their customers truly want, manufacturers and retailers are not only prioritizing the efficient exchange of accurate data, but also exploring the ideal portal to deliver it.

Consumers want complete and accurate information, and in an increasingly connected world, they want to find it quickly on their smartphones. Interactive physical packaging could soon become the dominant way manufacturers and retailers push dynamic and useful content directly to consumers. For example, a new solution launched last year, GS1 US Mobile Scan, helps brands and retailers deliver robust product information to consumers, including coupons, instructional videos and more via nearly invisible barcodes that can be easily scanned with a smartphone. This kind of consumer engagement presents an opportunity for both brands and retailers to become helpful allies in supporting consumer goals — and to increase consumer confidence and sales in the process.

The Outlook

Availability of detailed product information can make or break a brand in this evolving grocery marketplace. If a brand does not provide consumers with the information they seek, they will look elsewhere. This presents an opportunity for the entire industry in the year ahead and beyond to be more proactive in pursuing strategies that are focused on prioritizing data quality and availability to meet consumer and trading partner expectations.

The need for complete and accurate product information is imperative in the food industry since public health and safety depends upon the industry's ability to trace a foodborne illness outbreak back to the source. In addition, today's consumers are concerned about the food they buy and eat - ingredients, nutritional makeup, and much more. Is it genetically modified? Gluten-free? Nut-free? Organic? Locally grown? The breadth of questions consumers have about their food is requiring suppliers to provide deeper levels of transparency to stay competitive.

Delivering on the demand for more and better information will drive unprecedented industry collaboration on data quality, consistency in product attribute descriptors, and product identifiers in order to be understood and matched across the entire supply chain. Accurate data is essential since incorrect product information claims will cause consumers and trading partners to quickly lose confidence in a brand.

Standards Enable Deeper Transparency

Forward-thinking industry stakeholders are exploring and leveraging the standardized sharing of product images and attributes to help the retail grocery industry enable better transparency. The platform on which this collaboration is built is the industry’s common use of GS1 Standards for the unique identification of products. Suppliers and retailers using proprietary data systems that do not leverage interoperable standards can cause inconsistent data exchanges and can result in incorrect and out-of-date product information, damaging consumers’ trust in a brand.

How Transparency Drives Sales

In a recent Label Insight survey, 94 percent of respondents indicated they are likely to be loyal to a brand that offers complete product information. And 81 percent of consumers said they would consider a brand's entire range of products if they switched to that brand as a result of increased transparency. According to IRI research, retailers that embrace transparency have the opportunity to grow sales up to 25 percent faster than average.

With such strong indications of what their customers truly want, manufacturers and retailers are not only prioritizing the efficient exchange of accurate data, but also exploring the ideal portal to deliver it.

Consumers want complete and accurate information, and in an increasingly connected world, they want to find it quickly on their smartphones. Interactive physical packaging could soon become the dominant way manufacturers and retailers push dynamic and useful content directly to consumers. For example, a new solution launched last year, GS1 US Mobile Scan, helps brands and retailers deliver robust product information to consumers, including coupons, instructional videos and more via nearly invisible barcodes that can be easily scanned with a smartphone. This kind of consumer engagement presents an opportunity for both brands and retailers to become helpful allies in supporting consumer goals — and to increase consumer confidence and sales in the process.

The Outlook

Availability of detailed product information can make or break a brand in this evolving grocery marketplace. If a brand does not provide consumers with the information they seek, they will look elsewhere. This presents an opportunity for the entire industry in the year ahead and beyond to be more proactive in pursuing strategies that are focused on prioritizing data quality and availability to meet consumer and trading partner expectations.