One in three consumers would swap to a more transparent brand. Are you giving your customers the information they want?

How many customers have not purchased your product because they couldn’t find the information they needed

Research out of the U.S. from Label Insight1 suggests this could be more than one in three people.

The same researched showed that almost all consumers (94%) believe transparency on what is in food and how it is made is important and almost three-quarters (71%) consider the level of transparency when deciding what to buy. On top of this the research suggested that providing information about healthy ingredients is an opportunity to create long-term loyalty (greater than price and four times higher that brand recognition).

If consumers are looking for information what will they find?

Customers are looking for information on how your products fit into their dietary preferences, health needs and personal values. In the absence of this information your customers must rely on third-party information which is open to inaccurate, misinformed or even negative messages.

Transparency basics

Consumers are telling us they want information and they want to be able to use it to inform their purchase decisions. Their dietary preferences and health needs are diverse and changing so the key to transparency is twofold:

  1. Enabling individual customers to have access to the information that is important to them
  2. Presenting it in way that they understand.

Whatever your food business, the basics are listed below (some of this information may already be a regulatory requirement) along with some common considerations for how to make the information usable and easier to understand.

Nutrition information

  • Include relevant and practical serve size information

Ingredient lists

  • Consider the best way to present the ingredients to make sure they are understandable and easy to use


  • Try to avoid the generic “made on/in/near a facility/machinery that also processes allergen”. Instead understand the risk of cross contact and determine if a “contains” allergen statement or a “main be present” allergen statement is required.

Dietary preferences

  • Vegetarian or vegan: Make sure you consider any possible sources of animal ingredients such as food additives or processing aids
  • Consider the preferences of your target market – are they part of a paleo tribe or quitting sugar?

Nutrition attributes

  • This may include key nutrition features such as vitamin and mineral content or absence of nutrients of concern such as sugar, salt or saturated fat or serves of key food groups. Don’t forget to make sure any information you’re providing complies with relevant regulations.
  • Talk about any healthy ingredients

Other considerations

  • Sustainability
  • Sourcing or provenance
  • Animal welfare

Beyond product information

Brand trust and loyalty go beyond individual products fittingly, transparency also extends beyond products to the company selling them.

Is there transparency around how you operate? Do your customers know why they can trust you? This may take the form or corporate social responsibility initiatives, food or nutrition policies or just information about the way you do business. Consider the following:

  • Do you have any commitments around your food – where it’s from or how it’s made?
  • Are there any nutrition principles that guide your product development?
  • Does your brand or business make any promises around nutrition, health or well-being?
  • How do you help your customers reach their health goals?
  • Are there any known issues that you are working to address?

Complete transparency can be a daunting idea especially if you’re not sure about some of your ingredients or how customers will react to the new information. My advice, it’s better for you to know and control your messages rather than find out about potential issues when an advocacy group, food blogger or social media influencer calls you out.

Need help understanding the best approach for transparency in your business? Get in touch and we can discuss the best solution for you.


  1. Label Insight (2016) STUDY: Ninety-four Percent of Consumers say Food Product Transparency From Brands and Manufacturers is Important, Impacts Purchase [Online] 23 August 2016