Survey says consumers want more details on grocery packaging: Is SmartLabel the answer?

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13 Jun 2018 --- More than 7 in 10 shoppers want to find out more about the grocery products they buy than they are currently able to get with traditional on-package labels, according to a new national survey. Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and Food Marketing Institute (FMI) have launched a joint marketing campaign for the SmartLabel program. Shoppers want to go beyond the ingredients listed on the label to get information on what the ingredients do and why they are in the product, according to GMA and FMI.

These survey findings underscore the importance of a new digital tool – SmartLabel – that enables consumers to get easy access to this extra, detailed information about the products they use and consume. 

Roger Lowe, Executive Vice President, Strategic Communications at GMI tells FoodIngredientsFirst: “SmartLabel is being used on more and more products every month as companies adopt it. It’s already on nearly 28,000 food, beverage, personal care and household products, and projections are that it will continue to be addeClick to Enlarged to more and more products in the months ahead. This is a huge increase from the 4,000 products at the beginning of 2017.”

“SmartLabel is a way to meet the growing consumer demand for additional product information, more than could ever fit on a package label. And the digital access – via a QR code, an app or online – matches how today’s consumers are shopping and researching the products they buy and use. There have been some concerns raised about how people who don’t have smartphones can get SmartLabel information, but the fact is that this information can be found via a computer on www.smartlabel.org or by calling a 1-800 number on a package. So if a consumer has a computer or a telephone, they can also get SmartLabel information about products,” he explains.

“Major companies that are using it to provide information to consumers include General Mills, Unilever, Kelloggs, Kraft Heinz, Mondelez, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Hershey, Conagra, Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive and Clorox as well as well as the private label products of retailers such as Ahold USA, Albertsons and Topco,” says Lowe.

SmartLabel gives consumers access to more product information than could ever fit on a traditional package label. Consumers can find out not only what ingredients are included in products, but also why those ingredients are in the product, what they do, and even where they come from. SmartLabel can include detailed descriptions of allergens, usage instructions, information about how the product was produced, how animals were treated during the development process, or the product’s environmental impact.

Industry launches SmartLabel consumer education campaign
With SmartLabel so widely available, manufacturers and retailers are launching an education campaign over the next several months to help consumers understand that detailed product information is right at their fingertips – and understand how to find it.

Jim Flannery, Senior Executive Vice President at the GMA, says: “More products are using SmartLabel every week, and that’s why manufacturers and retailers are kicking off a campaign to make sure consumers know about SmartLabel and how it helps them get the additional information they want about the products they use and consume.”

“Consumers see retailers as a trusted source of information about the products they buy. This education campaign aims to show consumers how they can use QR codes and other digital disclosure methods to seek a closer connection to the foods they eat and the products they apply,” adds Mark Baum, Chief Collaboration Officer and Senior Vice President for Industry Relations at the FMI.

By Elizabeth Green

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