FMI – The Food Industry Association and Label Insight have released the research report, “Transparency Trends: Omnichannel Grocery Shopping from the Consumer Perspective.” The 2020 research touts the rationale for how 81 percent of shoppers say transparency is important or extremely important to them both online and in store.
The analysis offers the leading considerations among consumers for how they define transparency when grocery shopping.
The report is based on data collected between March 5-18 from 1,000 U.S, omnichannel grocery shoppers who shopped online for groceries in the previous month – in addition to shopping in-store. The report is a follow up to “The Transparency Imperative: Product Labeling from the Consumer Perspective” study conducted in 2018, which examined the growing importance of transparency. This year’s research builds off of the 2018 study, diving deeper into shoppers’ behaviors and expectations for transparency with in-store and online shopping.
“It’s one thing to know consumers want transparency, it’s another thing to act on it. We’re seeing more and more that providing detailed product information is key to building trust and loyalty with consumers,” said Tim Whiting, VP of marketing at Label Insight. “Moving forward, brands will need to continue to listen better to their customers, continuously update their online and in-store content to keep pace with changing consumer preferences and be an open book when it comes to their products so that they can maintain and grow market share.”
Consumers evaluate core factors that make a brand transparent. Shoppers say a brand or manufacturer is transparent if they provide a complete list of ingredients (62 percent), the description of ingredients is in plain English (53 percent), provide certifications, such as USDA organic (48 percent) and provide in-depth nutritional information (47 percent).
Responsibility for transparency is met with distrust. Sixty-one percent of omnichannel shoppers believe manufacturers, brands or government institutions are completely responsible for providing detailed product information; however, less than one-half of shoppers completely trust product information from manufacturers and brands (41 percent) or from government institutions (46 percent).
Consumer needs have changed, and transparency needs to evolve along with them. More shoppers are sticking to a diet or health-related eating program in 2020 (64 percent) than in 2018 (49 percent); and their shopping behaviors are impacted even more by food allergies, intolerances or sensitivities than two years ago, with 44 percent indicating this in 2018, and 55 percent in 2020.
Online expectations for transparency are higher than for brick-and-mortar. Forty-two percent of shoppers believe online grocery retailers should be responsible for providing detailed product information, compared to brick-and-mortar grocers (35 percent).
Consumers go online to get more information. When met with a need to get more detailed product information or clarify questions, shoppers turn to the internet. Forty-seven percent of shoppers will choose to research ingredients online in the face of confusion and 89 percent of them would be more likely to seek details on a product if it had more online information.
FMI VP of Industry Relations Doug Baker commented that transparency matters for omnichannel grocery shoppers, but there are distinctions among the platforms employed by these consumers.
“Pre-pandemic, online shoppers expressed a desire for expanded features that would enable search capabilities, exploration and better ways to compare products,” he said. “The analysis helps food retailers prioritize how consumers want to engage with them and their brands in an authentic way.”
The Shelby Report’s Mary Margaret Stewart wrote an article about FMI’s recent report on how American shoppers are continuing to adjust to the pandemic. See story here.