|A candy display at the Basics Cooperative Natural Foods in Janesville, Wis. Offers shoppers lots of labels to examine before they make a purchase.|
The good news is: all that work you put into designing the perfect label for your product seems to be worth it.
The bad news is: People actually read all those nutritional claims you throw out there, and then make snap decisions about whether or not they buy into them right there in the middle of the grocery store aisle.
That’s according to new data from Nielsen’s recent Global Health & Wellness study, which looked at what people eat and why in more than 60 countries.
Specifically, the report found that less than two-thirds (63%) of global respondents trust health claims on food packages, and the percentage even is lower in North America (56%).
But, like I said, there’s good news. About 80 percent of North Americans are willing to pay a premium for foods with healthy claims or attributes!
The report points to potato chips as a prime example of how people react to healthy food claims on packages.
When manufacturers try to tout that their chips are “whole grain,” sales actually decrease because consumers don’t associate “whole grains” with potato chips.” However, if they advertise on the package that their chips are “low sodium,” sales actually increase because that’s something consumers are actively looking for in a chip.
In other words, labeling that chocolate bar as “gluten-free,” or “low sodium,” probably won’t help you sell any more of them — in fact, it might even make the chocolate less appealing. Instead, you should probably stick with things people actually hope to find in a chocolate bar, like “all-natural” or “made with heart-healthy dark chocolate.”
Of course, that’s not the end of the labeling story. As most of you probably already know from experience, the report shows that Americans HATE high fructose corn syrup .
“In the U.S., high fructose corn syrup was public enemy #1 and 65 percent of consumers said it was very or moderately important to buy products with labels touting its absence,” Nielsen says.
So you might want to either get rid of it, or at least replace it with a different sweetener. I know, I know, it’s cheaper and our bodies probably digest it the same way they digest sugar. But the public has a different opinion on the matter, so the only sane thing left to do is either comply or accept the consequences.
Americans also want products made with non-GMO ingredients.
“Genetically Modified Organisms came in second most hated with 61 percent of U.S. consumers saying it was very or moderately important to seek labels touting its absence,” Nielsen says.
Now, personally, I believe that most Americans couldn’t even tell you what GMO stands for, much less explain why they’re against them. But right now, the data is clear — they’re against them. Do what you will with that information.
Not everything is about taking stuff out of food though. Of those polled, “69 percent of American consumers said it was very or moderately important to buy products with labels saying a product is made with fruits or vegetables.”
That’s awesome news for all the farmers out there growing cherries, or blueberries or strawberries, but it’s also good news for those in the confectionery industry. It turns out all you have to do to gain street cred in the grocery store is add some fruits, tout it on your label, and sit back while you wait for the sales to start rolling in.
In the end, though, it is still most important for your candy to actually taste good. Because, it doesn’t matter how amazing your label is — if people don’t like it, they'll never buy it again.