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FMI-The Food Industry Association has released a new report from NielsenIQ that it says reveals "continued high demand among consumers for transparency from food retailers and manufacturers, particularly in a more omnichannel marketplace. According to the report, two-thirds of shoppers (64%) say they would switch from a brand they usually buy to another brand that provides more in-depth product information, beyond nutrition facts."

According to the study, "Some 89% say general nutrition facts about a product are at least somewhat important in deciding which products to buy when grocery shopping — while 66% find this important or extremely important. Beyond nutrition facts, the majority (80%) of shoppers cited other transparency indicators of importance to include allergen information, certifications and claims, and values-based information such as animal welfare, fair trade and labor practices."

The report goes on:

"In 2018, just over one-fourth of shoppers (26%) purchased groceries online in the past 30 days. According to the latest findings, that number has now ballooned to 55%, making the online marketplace an ever more critical juncture for consumers to find their preferred brands and discover new ones. For example, 47% said discovery of new products – including information about sourcing and manufacturing processes – is easier online, compared to 23% saying harder and 30% saying about the same. When it comes to online shopping and transparency shoppers say they want faster delivery (42%), easier to use websites (37%), more and better product information (30%), retention of order history (29%), more accurate search functionality (28%) and product recommendations based on preferences (23%)."

KC's View:

Funny thing, but when I read "transparency indicators of importance to include allergen information, certifications and claims, and values-based information such as animal welfare, fair trade and labor practices," my mind immediately goes to country-of-origin labeling (COOL), which is something that a lot of people in the industry opposed when it was a prominent topic of conversation.

In the years since COOL was widely discussed, a lot of things have changed, but in terms of consumers, it all has moved in the direction of greater transparency and trackability - not to mention the emergence of a consumer class for whom information denied is suspicious.

I have no problem buying and eating food sourced from other countries, but I'd like that information to be part of any data package.  And the greater use of QR codes today - one of the byproducts of the pandemic age - means that information can be made available and consumers will know how to access it.