How to Read Your Labels Right
How to Read Your Labels Right

With consumers becoming more and more aware of their health and well-being, brands have had to reconsider how they display their ingredients on the labels. Consumers today are not only more conscious of their health but also extremely cautious about knowing all of the ingredients as well as certifications mentioned on the food labels. Providing the consumer with appropriate details about what a consumable product is made of is becoming extremely important. As a result, more and more manufacturers are striving to maintain transparency in food labeling today.

Establishing a Connect through Labels

Proper food labeling is more than just displaying what is inside your product. It is also a means to establish a brand’s intent and communication with the customer. Consumers today expect much more transparency, and this can be attributed to mainly two things. Firstly, there are a plethora of products available in the market. The consumer is spoilt for choice and if they don’t like anything about a product, they can find a substitute instantly. In such a scenario, it is pertinent to establish a clear picture of your product in the consumer’s mind at the outset. The second reason customers expect the highest level of transparency is the level of awareness, which has gone up significantly. The detailed information that is freely available is helping consumers keep themselves educated and updated about what’s inside their consumables. An increasing number of premium consumers are also willing to shell out more money for products that are transparent and clear on what is inside. The customer today demands proper and detailed information about ingredients and how the consumable was manufactured.

In India, 'no additives or preservatives' is said to be one of the top claims connected to clean labeling. The ‘no additives’ tag has grown from 11 percent of total snack launches in 12 months from January 2017 to 19 percent between February 2020 and January 2021. This mainly has to do with raising awareness amongst consumers about healthy snacking. As many as 42 percent of buyers actively look out for nutritional value mentioned on packs. The concept of clean eating is evolving in India and manufacturers are upping their game to establish a long-lasting connection with their customers through proper food labeling.

Way Forward

Manufacturers are increasingly realizing this crucial need of their consumers and are now trying to revamp their labeling to be as transparent as possible in order to minimize ambiguity. Firstly, there is a marked shift towards cleaner ingredients, which means lesser preservatives and more natural flavors. The worldwide sales of clean-label ingredients like natural colors and flavors, starch and sweeteners, fruit and vegetable ingredients, etc. are expected to go from $38.8 billion in 2021 to $64.1 billion in 2026 at a CAGR of 6.8 percent.

Health is one of the biggest motivators for this shift in consumption patterns. While having more natural ingredients means decreased shelf life of any consumable, manufacturers are often having to make a choice between shelf life, cost, and sensory attributes of the product.

Moving forward, it will be important to not only display what is in the product in a lucid manner but also clearly communicate what is NOT there, like preservatives, chemical emulsifiers, artificial flavors, etc.

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