Limit certifications on packs to most important to maximize impact

By Elizabeth Crawford contact

- Last updated on GMT

Source: J&J Snack Foods Corp.
Source: J&J Snack Foods Corp.

Related tags: Fructose corn syrup, High fructose corn, High-fructose corn syrup, Corn syrup

Product packaging today often is cluttered with so many certifications that consumers’ can’t absorb everything in the brief time they look at labels in stores, and as a result the icons’ impact is diminished and manufacturers likely aren’t getting their full value, according to a CPG marketing manager.

“Only so many things can fit on a package,”​ and be quickly understood by consumers, which is why manufacturers need to call out on labels only the points that are most intriguing to their target consumers, explained Joanne Mizner, retail marketing manager at J&J Snack Foods Corp.

Other certifications or marketing points that are important to a smaller or more peripheral subset of consumers should be discussed on the website or social media so that consumers who care about those elements enough to look for them can easily find them, she said.

For example, Mizner said, J&J Snack Foods Corp.’s new Whole Fruit Organic Juice tubes only call out on the front of the package the frozen treat’s calorie count and that it is gluten-free, non-GMO and has no high fructose corn syrup, even though it also is dairy free and made in a facility that is peanut- and nut-free, making the product ideal for families with allergies and vegans.

She explained that the company decided not to advertise on the package that the fruit tubes were allergy-free because most people with severe allergies, and their caretakers, are used to researching whether products are safe for them to eat before they buy them. So, she added, J&J knew that this information would still get to those who most needed it and that it is not a trendy point of differentiation for mainstream shoppers like gluten-free.

Similarly, the company gave prime real estate to the claim that the tubes are free from high fructose corn syrup, because this is a flash point for many mainstream shoppers who are hoping to reduce added sugars in their diets, Mizner said. It also provided a way to quickly communicate that the product, which is 90% juice, is naturally sweetened, she added.

Consumers don’t understand relationship between organic and non-GMO

The brand gave space to both Organic and Non-GMO icons, even though Organic covers both, because not many consumers understand that products must be non-GMO to be Organic, Mizner said, adding, “We wanted to make it a brainless decision for shoppers.”

She also noted that the company wanted to stress the products’ organic certification with the USDA seal and by including the term in the product name because Organic is going mainstream with more shoppers looking for it and interpreting it as an indicator for healthier, cleaner products.

The company also wanted to show consumers new to organic that even though organic products traditionally have been more expensive than conventional versions, they don’t have to be, Mizner said. She explained that the fruit tubes are “price sensitive”​ at $3.29-$3.99 for a six pack, making them about 60-70 cents a bar.

Maintaining an everyday low price was important to the brand because “we didn’t want to segregate the primary shopper and just make this product available to those who always buy everything organic regardless of price,”​ Mizner said. “We wanted to hit the mom who wants to give her kids a quality product that is non-GMO and free from high-fructose corn syrup, and we were able to do that by covering the organic set.”

She added that J&J also wanted to emphasis organic because the company plans to expand its organic offerings and it wanted to lay a solid foundation of knowledge with consumers that it offers organic products.

Vegan is gaining popularity

Mizner said the decision not to include on the product packaging that the tubes are dairy free or vegan was difficult, as both of these demands are trending upwards.

“We are just starting in the frozen dessert sections to see vegan as part of the mainstream set this year,”​ with the launch of Ben & Jerry’s vegan frozen desserts earlier this year and expansion of existing vegan frozen dessert brand’s portfolios, Mizner said, adding, “next year, I expect it will become even more of a mainstream trend.”

But for now, J&J omitted it from packaging because it is not as mainstream as other factors and, like consumers with allergies, vegans often research products before they buy them, she said.

“Again, it goes back to choosing the best icons or call-outs, the ones that are most relevant and balancing not being able to easily decipher all the claims on the package,”​ Mizner said.

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