SmartLabels Newest Food Manufacturer Tactic for Transparency

Robert Brice
Thu, Feb 11, 2016
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SmartLabels puts data transparency in the hands of the consumer.

Transparency is one of the most important qualities modern consumers desire from businesses. Millennial shoppers prefer natural ingredients and they want manufacturers to present information that indicates quality and compliance with government regulations.

In an effort to meet the wishes of their consumers, many food manufacturers do everything in their power to make relevant product information available to the public. Some businesses have employed innovative strategies like SmartLabels to share details from production data collection procedures with their customers.

LEARN MORE: Food traceability solutions »

Introduction of SmartLabels to Consumers

According to a Consumer Reports survey of 1,000 adults, 60 percent of shoppers don't want to purchase foods manufactured with genetically modified organisms - plants or animals with altered genetics. Many customers will go out of their way to avoid GMOs and want businesses to be honest about the way food products are grown or made.

Certain food companies have caught on and provide SmartLabels for consumers who want visibility, according to The New York Times. The Grocery Manufacturers Association recently launched the SmartLabel initiative to promote honesty in the business-customer relationship. Using the new packaging technology, shoppers can scan SmartLabels with their smartphones to pull up the exact details about consumable merchandise's creation. It is projected that 20,000 products will share manufacturing details through SmartLabels by 2017.

Providing Solutions for Honesty

Some experts predict this innovative new strategy should head off a need for federal regulations concerning GMOs. If food manufacturers share ingredient information willingly, there's no need for the government to step in.

The science is still out on GMOs. Many researchers and businesses believe modifying plants and animals promotes production without any harm to consumers. Apprehension towards scientific manufacturing methods may be in response to a lack of information. By creating an atmosphere of complete transparency, companies may start to convince consumers no dangerous practices take place.

The SmartLabel initiative helps companies respond to millennials desires for self-service. Forbes explained how modern consumers want convenient answers from businesses they can research on their own and share with friends and families. Shoppers will often go online and look up the details about products. SmartLabels provides physical shopping trips with the same data consumers can find during ecommerce browsing. It allows customers to make informed decisions while they shop in stores and helps products stand out on grocery shelves.

Collecting Data for Transparency

Even if a company doesn't sign on with the SmartLabel initiative, it might be time to find new solutions for transparency. Making product details available across multiple channels allows a company to demonstrate its willingness to be totally honest with shoppers and provide them with answers where customers need them most. An organization should market any visibility strategy to consumers to try to get a jump on competition that may feature ingredients unpopular with modern audiences.

Once a business recognizes the need for manufacturing data collection, it should try to find an automated solution to ensure its information is consistent and accurate. An RFgen customer case study detailed how a pet food manufacturer implemented JD Edwards EnterpriseOne and automated data collection devices to gain complete insight into inventory creation and movement. Utilizing technology at each level of merchandise production and handling, the business had a complete record of any information that could affect the final product's quality.

If an organization collects every piece of data in a centralized source, it achieves complete visibility of operations and managers can choose which information to make available to the public. Effective tracking procedures also help with government compliance and demonstrating the safety of strategies. The more data a business is willing the share, the better it can demonstrate its commitment to transparency.

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