Could this win health and wellness shoppers?

June 28, 2011

Safeway puts ingredients on the front of a private label line, confident the list will inspire consumer trust.

It happens sometimes, but not too often, that private label shows name brands what they should be doing to build consumer trust.

Safeway’s nutrition label program on its Open Nature line does just this by listing ingredients on the front of packages in easily readable type. The Lempert Report would like to see more brands communicate in such a transparent way with shoppers. Unfortunately, this is the exception rather than the rule today.

With this column, we’re not judging Safeway’s line of ‘natural’ meat and poultry, bread, yogurt, ice cream and salad dressing. Rather, we’re applauding the visible placement of ingredients where shoppers can easily assess if the food products conform to what they want to eat.

Prominent ingredient lists might not strike package designers as sexy, but we believe mindful shoppers will find them refreshing and appealing in their openness. This alone could win converts.

We’d like to see this approach extend across more packaged items in the food store. It will only happen, of course, once ingredient lists have what it takes to be viewed favorably. We may all grow beards before then, but it could become an easy marker for shoppers to identify packaged products with potentially fewer artificial and chemical ingredients. 

Retailers that want to win health and wellness shoppers could consider two avenues to success:  First, apply similar rigors to their private labels. Second, incentive brands that improve their ingredients to the point they would front-label them; with enough, stores could become stronger destinations for better-for-you foods.