An open book: Brands that are transparent win more often

June 28, 2018By Focus on the Pharmacy Front End Blog, Independent Pharmacy, Step into Natural

by Jen Johnston, CHHC, senior marketing services account manager, for the Step into Natural blog series

Transparency is a hot topic right now.  It refers to how and where the ingredients or materials in a product were sourced. Chances are you have shoppers that are intimately concerned about transparency like never before. Many consumers are pushing for ingredients lists that are clearly visible, along with information about the origins of the content.

You probably won’t hear anyone outside of the industry using words like “transparent” though. That’s because, according to the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), shoppers use words like “openness,” “honesty,” “being public,” “clear,” “visible,” and “not hidden” when describing transparent brands. These consumers have heightened expectations of manufacturers to be open and honest about their products and practices. This is especially true for products in the natural space.

The food and beverage industry was the first CPG segment to be slammed with demands for transparency. According to Mintel, widespread distrust has increased the need for food and drink manufacturers to be forthcoming about their ingredients, production processes, and supply chains. Brands that are transparent are more likely to win, Woman shoppingparticularly among millennials who now span the ages of 22 and 37.

I am sure you’ve heard the phrases “farm to fork,” “seed to spoon,” or “farm to table.” Natural product manufacturers have a way of expressing to their target shopper exactly how their food, beverage, personal care, supplement, or natural OTC products are produced. Label Insight produced a study which shows that “the interest in non-food product transparency is also on the rise. Shoppers are taking more interest in what is in their personal care products – from face lotion to shampoo to sunscreen – and will make buying decisions based on ingredient information.”

Transparency goes hand in hand with other concepts I will share with you during this blog series, such as social responsibility and clean label. These are all concepts the natural products industry has seemingly mastered.

As you think about which natural products to bring into your store, transparency of the brand or company should be one of your considerations. You can generally determine pretty quickly how transparent a brand is by visiting their consumer-facing website. Do they disclose all their ingredients and what they are used for? Do they provide traceable sources for all of their ingredients? Do they list quality or efficacy test results on their site? If not, they may not meet the desires of your natural shoppers.