Food Label Transparency and Why It Matters to the Consumer
There have been multiple updates regarding food labels in the past few months, specifically with GMO Labeling, and this has become a topic of discussion across news channels, publications, and blogs. As we place a greater emphasis on the importance of food labels, it is critical to evaluate their transparency.
The Food Safety Modernization Act, which works to prevent contamination in food, encourages transparency. As consumers become more and more educated with food choices and what they are consuming there is an increased emphasis placed on traceability. Food manufacturers have a huge responsibility when it comes to how their brands are perceived by the consumer. According to an article in Food Safety News, “Consumers want transparency on labels more than anything else,” said Dr. David Acheson, former chief medical officer for both the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN).
As our culture shifts toward consuming better food and living a healthier lifestyle, consumers want to know more about the food they are eating. This means, the more ingredients contained in food, the more complex it will be to meet the consumer demand for transparency.
The Future of Food Labeling
What does this increased transparency mean for the future of food labeling? It would be beneficial for the food industry to explore new ways of delivering the information that consumers seek. With all of the information the consumer is asking to know about the products they are buying, it can be difficult to include everything on a product’s label. Thanks to the SmartLabel initiative, food companies have options like bar codes or QR codes that link to more detailed information about ingredients for the consumer who wants all the details. This tool will provide information such as nutrition, ingredients, allergens and more!
As food labeling continues to evolve, there are no doubts that better food labeling will allow for more informed decisions.
Transparency in Labeling
If there were transparency in labeling, would we be able to track food better? Will labeling companies need to continue meeting consumer requirements? Will what consumers perceive on labels impact purchasing decisions?
At the end of the day the consumer wants what the consumer wants. According to Mintel’s Global Consumer Trends for 2015, “Twenty-two percent of US grocery consumers would like to see improved labeling on packaging to help them easily identify healthier food products, and less than 38 percent trust what companies say on labels.” Aside from what the government requires on labels, do food companies need to give the consumer more? Many believe “yes”. Companies are concerned about the individual and want to know what the consumer thinks and feels so they can make solid purchasing decisions that will have a greater impact on the bottom line.
Transparency is providing the shopper/consumer with the information they need to make better choices for their family. Own your product and be upfront with the consumer. It is our goal to help our customers by offering a labeler that fits into your production line to help do just that.