Over the last several years, the demand for transparency has become huge. The concept has evolved from being a buzzword to a mandate for shoppers in every industry. And this is especially true for the health-conscious shopper.
Who Are Health-Conscious Shoppers?
In retail, these are typically people who are concerned about their health, and tend to gravitate towards brands that have healthier options, contain simpler ingredients and reflect greater transparency in nutrition and packaging. Health-conscious shoppers may also have a health-related issue that drives their purchase behavior. Weight is one of the most common issues, but allergies, food intolerances, and food sensitivities also make up a large percentage of the conditions that impact food and other retail purchases.
These consumers tend to shop around for the perfect products to meet their needs. They’re more likely to shop online, and over half of them also visit more than three physical stores every month. In addition, 90% of them check product labels at least sometimes in order to make sure that items fit their dietary requirements.
The Power of Product Transparency
Health-conscious shoppers want to know more about products than the average person. They study labels to make sure that products don’t contain anything that could derail their weight goals or trigger allergies and other bad reactions. These shoppers, however, aren’t satisfied with simple ingredient lists and nutrition facts labels. They also want to know minute details about the items they consider.
What Details Are Important to Transparency Seekers?
Those who are concerned about product transparency want to know all of the facts regarding the product’s lifecycle. They prefer products that provide this information since it allows them to make fully-informed buying decisions. These decisions include ecological and sustainability considerations, as well as simple questions about the nutritional profile of the product.
In today’s retail environment, this level of transparency is more important than ever. Almost all shoppers (93%) say it is important for manufacturers to provide highly detailed information about how a product is made. According the same report, a large number of them (74%) are willing to switch brands in order to buy an item that provides the transparency they seek – information that goes beyond what is printed on the label.
In What Ways Do Shoppers Expect Transparency?
Today’s shoppers expect transparency in many ways. Some of the key things they look for include:
- Information about how the product was made
- Sustainability facts
- Where the ingredients were sourced
- Pre-harvest information
Nielsen narrows these down into three categories: ingredients, processing, and sustainability.
One of the most important aspects of any product are its ingredients. However, shoppers want to know much more about a product’s ingredients than just their names.
Notably, one claim that doesn’t appeal to most shoppers is “all natural.” Per Nielsen, only 15% of Americans always trust this claim, while 18% always distrust it. Another 67% only sometimes trust this sort of marketing. A product is more attractive, however, if it has fewer ingredients. Eight out of 10 health-conscious shoppers look for this in products.
One example of a manufacturer leading the charge is eco-friendly cleaning and personal care brand The Honest Company. They are committed to label transparency, which includes clearly and consistently listing ingredients directly on the product label, as well as including allergens, revealing ingredients that are typically hidden behind the term “fragrance,” and disclosing what the product is made without.
Shoppers know that many substances can be added to products during processing, particularly foods. Therefore, they want the details about any additives that may have ended up in the final product. In fact, 67% of shoppers want to know everything that goes into the food they buy, according to Nielsen. Here, transparency can mean getting rid of catch-all terms like “spices” or “broth” and replacing them with specifics. In some cases, it may be beneficial to disclose exactly what has been added during processing and why. For example, meat may be labeled with statements such as, “10% saltwater added during processing for moisture.”
This is a matter of importance to many shoppers, whether or not they qualify as health-conscious. Currently, 64% of households buy sustainable products, and out of all shoppers, 68% think it is important for companies to implement programs that help improve the environment.
For example, Johnson & Johnson created the Citizenship & Sustainability 2020 Goals to help people live healthier lives. One initiative, in particular, is dedicated to using fewer and smarter resources by integrating sustainable design solutions into their product innovation processes, and in turn, reduce their impact on climate and water resources.
Transparency in this area involves educating shoppers on what your company is doing to make its operations sustainable and helpful to the environment. And because today’s sustainable shopper is 67% more likely to be digitally engaged than the average shopper, it’s a good idea to make extensive use of the internet for disseminating this information.
As this shows, shoppers are no longer satisfied with a product name and a label claiming that it’s “all natural” or “organic”. Instead, they want to know exactly what is in their products, how it got there, and what methods were used throughout the development process. Since all of this information doesn’t always fit on a package, people are willing to go online or otherwise to research it.
To find success, brands must make it easy for shoppers to learn all about its products, especially in terms of ingredients, processing, and sustainability. With this level of transparency, shoppers are more likely to buy your product and remain loyal to your brand.