Fresh Food

The Importance of Transparency in Fresh

Fresh departments are dominating sales of products with transparency claims as consumers seek products with minimal ingredients.

Transparency is one of the most prominent demands from consumers today—and it’s growing sales. Now more than ever, consumers are demanding transparency in the grocery products they buy. From fresh lunchmeat to salty snacks, shoppers want to be certain the foods they purchase at the grocery store are contributing to the healthy lifestyles they seek.

fresh transparency

As consumers continue to educate themselves about exactly what’s in—and not in—the items they’re buying, sales of products with transparent attributes are significantly outpacing conventional products. Across the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) landscape in the U.S., sales of products with transparency claims—including free from artificial ingredients, clean label, sustainable, organic, fewer than five ingredients and local—have grown 9% over the last year and now represent 31% of sales, according to New York-based Nielsen. Comparatively, sales of conventional products have decreased 2% over the same period. In fact, products with transparency claims have managed to grow sales in food categories that are posting declining sales.

Fresh departments are leading the charge, accounting for 40.3% of all transparent dollar sales. This is unsurprising, as shoppers continue to focus on simpler, basic foods such as produce and seafood. Products with minimal ingredients now account for the majority of perishable transparency sales. However, growth rates among the transparency claims vary depending on the fresh category, so finds Nielsen data. For instance, organic products across the fresh perishable category have grown 10% in the last year, while berries, bananas and fresh beef have experiences sales spikes of 29%, 23% and 18%, respectively.

fresh transparency

Availability of products with transparency claims is increasing, resulting in these products drawing mainstream appeal. Consumer groups of all income levels, ages and ethnicities are now spending more on products with transparency claims than they were just two years ago, though adoption of the various claims varies across groups. And while the majority of sales still occur within the traditional grocery channel, consumers can now find transparent food items everywhere from gas stations to drugstores.

As competition across the grocery store intensifies, emerging brands and manufacturers must keep a close watch on the growth of products with transparency claims. In light of a recent Nielsen survey, which found that 67% of consumers want to know everything that is going into their food, it’s clear that the trend toward transparency will not reverse anytime soon. By prioritizing transparency, brands have an opportunity to attract new customers and, more importantly, keep them.

Source: Nielsen Product Insider, powered by Label Insight & FreshFacts, 52 weeks ended July 1, 2017

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