Do you remember when an apple was just an apple?
One of the key drivers affecting our clients in the global industry is ‘change’, driven by consumers. Consider the apple; currently, the entire value chain is the product—consumers want to know where the apple came from; whether the farmer used pesticides; whether it was organically grown; how much water was used in the process; who picked the apple. The food industry faces risk along the entire value chain. Some key players proactively decided to open their value chain—a crucial part of the highly successful makeover of McDonalds, inviting consumers to become quality scouts for their bestseller products.
Transparency Motivates Consumer Purchases
Chobani Yoghurt in the US or Nakd Snack Bars in the UK are excellent examples of how transparency has been used to position products and challenge the mega-competition such as Danone. Chobani ticks the boxes in several areas that score highly as consumer transparency must-haves—such as local milk sourcing, transparency about ingredients and ensuring that the farmers they source from do not use hormones on their animals. Meanwhile, Nakd partners with WeForest to offset all their carbon emissions and help to regenerate forest in Burkina Faso and Brazil.
To re-establish trust into a category, sometimes consumer brands break the category rules. Baby foods is one category being challenged by consumers. The latest addition to the successful mums-to-mums Happy Family range is Clearly Crafted—transparency is linked to a benefit: ‘the goodness you can see’, and they have gone as far as even making the packaging transparent.
Many brands have also signed up to SmartLabel™. Information through SmartLabel™ is available instantaneously whether a consumer is in the store, at home, or work, or using a smart phone, tablet or desktop computer. This offers an opportunity for brands to provide one complete source of information about their products to consumers—if they don’t, they put themselves at risk as consumers seek information from the third parties promising to deliver it.
Transparency is a fantastic way to re-engage in conversation with consumers—especially millennials—from the food processing black box to showing a lot of care and attention has gone into crafting a product for their needs. Ironically, this is essentially a return to the fundamentals of food preparation and cooking.