Label Insight: Transparency trends to gain steam in 2019

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

Consumers are seeking out additional product information that transcends the physical nutrition facts and psychical label claims on the package, says Label Insight. ©GettyImages / ferrantraite
Consumers are seeking out additional product information that transcends the physical nutrition facts and psychical label claims on the package, says Label Insight. ©GettyImages / ferrantraite

Related tags Transparency Ingredient Nutrition facts label

Chicago-based data firm Label Insight forecasts that transparency will be the backbone of most consumer purchases in 2019.

A recent report by Label Insight​ and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) showed that a majority of shoppers have transparency on their minds when grocery shopping– 86% agreed that they would feel a higher sense of trust​for food manufacturers and retailers that provided access to complete, ‘easy to understand’ ingredient information.

Because food and beverage manufacturers can’t simply cram every product attribute onto the physical package –  nor would it be an effective branding tactic to do so – providing access to more in-depth product information through new methods such as Smart Label​ can give shoppers the peace of mind that complete detailed information they may need is easily accessible.

"Time and time again consumers have made themselves clear that they want to better understand what's in the products they use and consume and they are willing to vote with their wallets,"​ said Patrick Moorhead, chief marketing officer at Label Insight, said Patrick Moorhead, chief marketing officer at Label Insight.

"The need for transparency is driving dramatic shifts in the food retail industry that impact how business as usual is done for both brands and retailers.”

But how does transparency manifest itself in grocery retail industry?

Grocery retailers evolve to meet transparency needs

According to Label Insight, transparency initiatives led by retailers will continue to spread in 2019. An increasing amount of grocery retailers are creating transparency-driven in-store health and wellness experience for shoppers.

Label Insight is tracking more than 30 retail health and wellness programs and expects that number to continue to grow. 

Raley's shelf guide program that leveraged Label Insight data

One such is Raley’s shelf guide program in California where shoppers can easily identify ingredients, food processing methods, and nutrition with simple and colorful icons. Raley’s shelf guide goes beyond the typical ‘organic’ and ‘non-GMO’ attributes to include criteria for sodium, sugar, and fiber content by individual category.

This detailed approach to nutritional information will become more commonplace among food retailers, Label Insight predicted.

“In 2019, retailers will move beyond health and wellness as brand positioning by leveraging new approaches to data and omnichannel integration,” the​ data insight company said.

Category management by product attribute

Broad food categories are becoming more specific and personalized based on a shopper’s nutrition and dietary needs. Therefore, products must reflect and provide access to complete information, Label Insight noted.  

“Many shoppers want to know exactly what a food item is made from, where an item is sourced from, and increasingly the business practices and ethical positions of the manufacturer before deciding to purchase,”​ said Label Insight.

Accurate product attribution will be the key to meeting these shopper demands and building trust and repeat purchases even in categories with flat or declining sales, claimed Label Insight.

“In 2019, we'll see product attribution evolve beyond existing category taxonomy approaches to include consumer driven transparency attributes in the management process.”

The online shopping experience

Shoppers are using their mobile devices more than ever to order food, and while online grocery sales make up less than 3% of US e-commerce sales, it is one of the fastest-growing categories and a prime opportunity to build habitual shopping behaviors, he said.

“Although there are many unique logistical challenges to grocery e-commerce, the biggest challenge seems to be developing a user experience that truly reflects and solves the complex needs of today's customers -- the ability to easily find products according to one's specific needs,”​ Label Insight shared. 


In 2019, Label Insight predicts that there will be more powerful search and filtering capabilities in online grocery based on key attributes power the next wave of growth.

“These data-driven capabilities will need to meet three important criteria to drive the market forward: accurate, comprehensive and consistent,” ​the company added. 

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