September 2008: How Will Greater Transparency Enhance Your Business?
An Extract from a Deloitte Research Report: "The View from the Glasshouse"
Occasionally we'll forward research that we think is interesting and relevant to the produce industry. This recent survey by Deloitte found some interesting statistics on consumer behaviors and discusses their implications.
Product information of all types continues to become more prevalent and easier to access. Consumers can validate and learn almost anything they are motivated to learn about a product - its origins, ingredients, and how it compares to other products in terms of price, quality and availability.
In the past, clever marketers and advertisers shaped brands, but now consumers are increasingly empowered. Clearly, a "New and Improved!" message will no longer carry the day. Consumers are accessing a multitude of online resources to determine if a product's claims are true - particularly in the face of recent quality- and safety-related recalls of produce, toothpaste, and pet food. In Asia this trend is already extending to cell phones, enabling consumers to conduct the search at the point of purchase.
Information is fast becoming the primary currency of the sales process, and the resulting implications for brands are considerable. Companies will need to identify innovative and proactive ways to get accurate and complete product information in front of consumers or risk having others shape their products' reputations. The study finds that reputation is the most important influencer when consumers decide what product to buy. And while transparency makes it easier for consumers to determine the differences between competitive products, it creates yet another challenge for manufacturers: if a private label product and a pricier branded version are virtually the same, consumers may determine that there aren't enough differences to justify the price disparity. In order to offset this threat, brands may need to redirect their messages to demonstrate why their product is different or better. In fact, their communications may take on an additional flavor: "Here's how we'll prove we're better."
If companies can fundamentally address the issue of product transparency they could attain commercial success at a rate they haven't seen in the last decade. But it will be their responsibility to exploit this growing trend. If they don't, companies may find themselves so rapidly left behind they might not catch up.
What You See Is What You Get
With traceability now one of the industry's biggest challenges, transparency in packaging has taken on new meaning.
By Meg Major
Progressive Grocer - August 2008
Packaging trends have long been inherently linked to changing lifestyles and consumer preferences. But with more foods than ever being sourced across international borders, and a spate of recent foodborne illness outbreaks that seems to become more convoluted and confusing with each passing day, the case has never been greater for creating packaging applications that offer sophisticated and transparent solutions right on down the supply chain.
To be sure, pressure is mounting from retailers, consumers, and even some lawmakers for fresh produce and meat suppliers to provide more information on how and where their products are grown, and the conditions under which they're grown, stored, and transported as they journey from farm to table. Couple this pressure with the requirements of the forthcoming country-of-origin labeling (COOL) law, set to commence Sept. 30, and it's clear there's room for a bigger role for efficient, sustainable, transparent packaging.