The Labeling Debate Continues

The Lempert Report
January 28, 2014

What labels do consumers care about?

I recently spoke about General Mills’ decision to label Cheerios GMO free, is it a good idea or just an unnecessary label that’s cashing in on a fad? In fact what labels are a good idea? What labels do consumers care about? Well a recent report sheds a little light on this debate. 

The new report, released by consulting firm AlixPartners asked more than 600 health-conscious shoppers, meaning those who spend more than 40 percent of their grocery budget on products associated with health and wellness, to vote on which attributes they are willingly pay more for.  The results? “Locally sourced” was the most popular, followed by “certified organic,” “organic,” “preservative free,” and “certified non-GMO.” But note, consumers said they’d pay more for certified organic and food labeled GMO-free than those that lack a seal of approval.
Labels that customers wouldn’t pay more for were “gluten-free”, consumer claims like “best tasting”.  Scientific claims such as “lowers cholesterol” were a little more popular but not much.

Product labels become a prime advertising space. It is how consumers familiarize themselves with a product and how they gain trust. Determining how many and which nutritional claims to fill this space with becomes a crucial decision. 


Retailers should also take note when they highlight a product or a brand, to not oversell with claims. Just like with a product, consumers need to trust that their supermarket is leading them in the right direction and helping them make smart choices, not trying to sell them something they don’t need.