In the last several years, a "horse meat" scare in British beef products was a disaster for building consumer confidence in food labeling. French suppliers were found to be mixing ground beef with ground horse meat, a betrayal of trust that set the industry back considerably. This month, the Guardian published a report suggesting that one of the latest frontiers of dodgy food labels is the home spice rack, which might be stocked with products that contain fillers like nuts and grains.
Steve Rowe, the director of Marks and Spencer, a British supermarket chain, said that companies reap rewards by putting forth honest, transparent product information, regardless of the effects on cost.
"The race to the bottom on price helps no one," he writes in Retail Week. "You can always make stuff cheaper, but normally it involves removing something. In the extreme case of horse meat, that was the dominant raw material itself. To protect your brand and to protect your customer in the future, acting with integrity has become a value you cannot do without."
For spices and other goods, tracing the origins of ingredients can be tricky. The spice supply chain is circuitous and lengthy, so brands should take extra care to guarantee quality. Custom label strategy allows companies to articulate their corporate values and practices, so that customers can get a clear view of how their food is sourced. As a result, more shoppers in supermarkets can come to trust brands with demonstrated credibility about quality assurance.
If your company needs a new use for its industrial label printer, consider drafting a strategy that puts product integrity front and center. It may pay dividends when competitors in the market are revealed to be less authentic than their labels claim.