Food labeling is a demanding process, with manufacturers needing to decide what elements of their products to emphasize for customers. Promises and claims on packaging must be true, as the bevy of recent lawsuits targeting food providers has demonstrated. There is another layer to selecting a labeling strategy, however, and that involves printing facts, claims and numbers that consumers truly care about.
"Brands need to turn their products' nutritional attributes into selling points."
Space on packaging is limited, and some of it is taken up with legally mandated features such as nutrition facts, serving sizes and ingredient lists. Brands need to use the remaining space to turn their products' nutritional attributes into positive selling points.
Creative Nutritional Promises
The Washington Post recently profiled a few brands and organizations that are going beyond the basics in their attempts to win customers over. These are companies that have identified trends in shopper demand and changed their packaging strategies to suit these wants and needs.
For instance, whole grains are emphasized in official Dietary Guidelines, which specify people should consume more than 50 percent of their grains in whole form. Nutritional nonprofit Oldways decided to turn this recommendation into a seal, approving products that contain more than half whole grain. This is an alternative to a "100 percent whole grain" label that applies to a much wider spectrum of products.
Sometimes, new nutrition labels are created to make products from certain farms more appealing. The news provider specified that Kashi is set to employ a logo certifying that products come from farms undergoing the three-year transition and approval process to be called "organic."
That period was previously a worrisome time in which farmers incurred extra costs but were unable to tell consumers why they should pay a premium for ingredients that weren't yet certified organic. "Certified transitional" labels fill the gap.
Definitions are Evolving
When getting creative with food labeling, brands need to ensure they're not making promises the products can't keep. The Food and Drug Administration keeps an eye on the definitions of words such as "healthy," and it's adding to and updating the list. NPR reported late last year that "healthy" is being redefined due to modern thoughts about nutrition.
Researchers today have changed their thinking about fat – the substance isn't always harmful and comes in good and bad varieties. These kinds of discoveries are changing how people eat healthy – and "healthy."
When it comes time for brands to switch up their labeling strategies, they may appreciate having the necessary hardware and software in-house as opposed to outsourcing. In these cases, they need professional-grade technology such as the Afinia L801, available on Argon's U.S. site and Canadian page.