People who want to lose weight study nutrition facts. They want to know the total amount of calories, percentage of calories from fat, protein, carbohydrates, cholesterol, allergens and many other facts. The higher the awareness, the more scrutiny of information the consumer will exercise.
These nutrition-concerned consumers rely on correct data to be displayed on labels and in marketing material. But accurate product information isn’t just for the dieters. In general, as consumer awareness of overall health becomes more prevalent, providing rich and accurate product information at the point of sale is critical for companies looking to succeed in the age of the customer.
Shoppers with interest in nutrition facts for the sake of improving their health are just one segment of consumers who study product information.
In addition to health, consumer interest can include lifestyle, political convictions and religious beliefs. Consumers also increasingly care about sustainability, provenance and production methods. They are looking for heart-healthy food, super-foods, vegetarian or vegan options, halal, kosher, paleo diets, organic or local food. Consumers are diabetic, allergic, activist or simply enthusiastic first movers.
Food manufacturers and CPG companies must see
their customers as individuals with varying needs and
interests and be able to respond accordingly.
The customer experience of these consumers depends heavily on the richness and correctness of data. Customers today expect trustworthy data – whether they are dieting or seeking to adhere to cultural or food sensitivity requirements.
The variety of concerns, wishes and beliefs impacting buying decisions can be overwhelming, and retailers and manufacturers of pre-packaged food may seem daunted at the idea of accommodating this variety by providing equally detailed and precise product information.
These newfound customer concerns impose a strong challenge on the pre-packaged food industry already focused on complying with numerous and sometimes complex regulations. Documenting nutrition values, contents, origin, production date and conditions are all part of delivering the crucial customer experience for the conscious consumer. This demand for additional product information has created an industry of certifications of fair trade, organic production and allergen-friendly ingredients.
Data is marketing
As consumer awareness increases, so does the demand for accurate product data. Consumers who want control, and don’t trust marketing messages, are often more likely to trust product facts.
CPG companies seeking to communicate with various segments must enrich their product information with valid data to establish a fact-driven marketing message. In that sense, trustworthy data has become the most efficient marketing message.
Conscious consumers have become numb to exaggerated marketing messaging. But the good news is this – because manufacturers and retailers of pre-packaged food must conform to pre-packaged food regulations, they likely already have insight and control of their data supply chain. And producing fact-driven, data-based marketing content should not just be seen as a tough challenge. This is the food manufacturer’s big opportunity to communicate with consumer groups who share information with their own social networks. Winning these groups over can mean a big difference for a food manufacturer’s brand.
The salient point for manufacturers and retailers is to secure the trustworthiness of the product label that represents the equivalent of a data twin of the physical product.
Controlling the data supply chain
Controlling the data supply chain, applying traceability and enhancing accountability through streamlined communication are important initiatives to ensure the high data quality that accommodates consumer demands, as well as helps avoid recalls and negative publicity.
In the consumer-packaged food industry, managing a high quality of mastered product data can be the best protection of brand reputation. The data can create revenue as well as customer loyalty; consumers reward companies who meet their requirements for correctly enriched product data and effectively labeled items.
But there’s a risk in the generation and publication of data that takes place in all stages of the food supply chain where data must be carried over from one step to the next.
The typical pitfalls of the data supply chain
where data can become compromised lie in
manual inspections, paper-based data capturing
and the use of legacy systems.
In traditional supply chains, data gets lost in emails, phone calls and paperwork when communicating product data across a complex supply chain encompassing suppliers, labs, logistics, inspectors and product managers. The safest method of managing data involves the use of a common platform that can provide a single source of truth. The platform needs to be controlled by the manufacturer who has the responsibility for the correctness of the data.
The tricky aspect of the commercialization of pre-packaged food to the conscious consumer segment is that sourcing healthy raw materials, driving an environmentally-responsible production and applying labor-friendly logistics is not enough. Retailers of pre-packaged food must, in addition to their supply chain, be able to document the processes and sources with valid data. This allows them to get the full value of their efforts at the end of the chain when displaying the product on the shelves in front of consumers who want to be in control of what they eat.
Do you want to know more about the many ways in which data impacts your life and your business and how you can change it from a liability to an asset? Contact us here.