Each product that is part of the SmartLabel scheme will have a specific landing page containing detailed information from the manufacturer, notes Label Insight, which has collected data on 171,000+ products on US grocery store shelves and records multiple attributes, from certifications to ingredients.
And while this can be accessed in real time via scanning QR codes in store (if brands choose to add QR codes on pack), the real value will be for consumers, retailers, journalists, dietitians, market researchers, and other industry stakeholders to be able to research, compare and contrast multiple brands and products online because the data will be presented in a consistent format, Ronak Sheth, chief customer officer at Label Insight told FoodNavigator-USA.
One version of the truth
Right now, for example, if you want to find out what ingredients are in three different chocolate bars, you’d have to dig out that information on the companies’ websites (if it is available); trawl through Amazon or other online shopping sites that include ingredients lists; use a website such as Fooducate and see if the products you are interested in are featured; or search blogs and other online sources that may be out of date or unreliable.
The SmartLabel pages, by contrast, will present data in a consistent format, and will become a hugely valuable resource that small brands as well as CPG giants will want to be part of, predicted Sheth.
“SmartLabel is going to become this huge central repository that will get richer and richer in terms of content. It’s not really about QR codes, it’s an omni-channel solution that is going to feed into everything, including online shopping platforms where you will be able to link to smart-label landing pages for all the products. It will be something brands will want to participate in because it’s an opportunity to engage with consumers. It can give your brand exposure.”
Not just for the big boys
So how can brands get involved without breaking the bank or diverting management time away from the day job?
Brands that are already working with Label Insight can seamlessly populate SmartLabel webpages via the Label Insight platform, as it already houses all of the data required by the SmartLabel scheme, he said.
“We already have SmartLabel landing pages built and available.”
Meanwhile, companies that don’t currently work with Label Insight can start populating the Label Insight database in order to participate in the SmartLabel scheme at minimal cost, added Sheth, who said Label Insight has been working with companies of all sizes to help them get ready for SmartLabel.
“You could build, populate and maintain your own smart label pages if you really wanted to, but most small companies don’t have the time or the expertise. We’ve been doing this for a long time. We also have a six-year relationship with the FDA so we understand what the criteria are for making all the nutrient content claims and so on, and we can provide a turnkey solution.”
“This is a win-win — consumers gain transparency, and brands and retailers gain consumer trust… SmartLabel picks up where product packaging and labels end. Going beyond the label with an electronic version of the product information makes sharing additional product information with consumers more attainable and sustainable for brands and retailers. The result is more information, and, consequently, more transparency.”
Anton Xavier, CEO and co-founder, Label Insight
The first version of SmartLabel, known as Gen. 1.0, will include more than 350 product attributes, each of which is classified as ‘required’ or ‘voluntary’. The ‘required’ attributes are defined by US regulations, but if a company chooses to disclose one of the ‘voluntary’ attributes, it must use an industry-recognized standard definition.
More than 30 leading CPG companies have committed to using SmartLabel including ConAgra Foods, Campbell Soup, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, and Hershey.