Importance Of Traceability Of Ingredients To Consumers
Our analysis of the demand for transparency across millennials, Gen X, and baby boomers shows that traceability is most important to millennials, then Gen X, and lastly, baby boomers. Traceability of food ingredients helps consumers to know the food products and brands to trust.
INSIGHTS AND STATISTICS SURROUNDING THE IMPORTANCE OF TRACEABILITY OF FOOD INGREDIENTS TO CONSUMERS
- Consumers are becoming increasingly interested in knowing how their foods are produced. Their primary concerns include the ingredients used and where they come from, whether they are organic and non-genetically modified (GMO), and if the ingredients used were sourced responsibly.
- According to Deloitte's 2015 Consumer Food Value Equation survey, consumers' definition of safety has been adjusted to include health, wellness, and transparency, as well as "free from harmful ingredients (62%), clear and accurate labeling (51%), and fewer ingredients, processing, and nothing artificial (42%)."
- According to another study, consumers chose locally sourced products (48%) and environmental responsibility (39%) as reasons for selecting a food retailer.
- As such, manufacturers are amplifying their traceability technologies and capabilities to provide consumers with a better understanding of how their foods are produced, as well as to drive transparency.
- The increasing demand for traceability is driven by consumers' increased attention towards corporate social responsibility. "Around 42% of North American consumers say they are willing to pay more for products and services from companies committed to positive social and environmental practices."
- According to a report from Label Insight and Food Marketing Institute (FMI), consumers are more likely to exhibit loyalty to products that share more information. The report found that "shoppers increasingly demand transparency and a closer connection to their food, so much so that 75% are more likely to switch to a brand that provides more in-depth product information, beyond what is provided on the physical label."
IMPORTANCE OF TRACEABILITY BY GENERATION
- A study by Pew Research Center revealed the level of trust that different generations exhibit. According to the study, 19% of millennials say people can be trusted, compared to 31% of Gen X and 40% of baby boomers.
- This attitude could also be transferred to their perception of brands, thus indicating the importance of traceability of food products to improve transparency and trust for food brands across these generations. From this analysis, millennials can be assumed to be more demanding of ingredients traceability for the food that they consume, followed by Gen X and baby boomers.
- Research shows that millennials "value companies who display allergen information, certifications and claims, explanations of ingredient usage information, and other details such as animal welfare, fair trade, and labor practices." On the other hand, Gen X and baby boomers focus more solely on information that is provided on the product such as a list of ingredients, their description, and nutritional information.
- Millennials are more conscious of health, exercise, and quality foods than Gen X and baby boomers, and have shown that they are willing to pay more for foods from premium brands to guarantee that they are eating healthy and that the ingredients of food products are sourced ethically. This data also indicates a more pressing need for traceability of ingredients to millennials than other generations before them.
REASONS WHY TRACEABILITY IS IMPORTANT TO CONSUMERS
- Traceability is important to consumers for numerous reasons, including the desire for more healthy, nutritious, and fresh foods.
- Also, there is a growing affinity towards social and environmental responsibility which includes the "desire to support local and regional growers and learn about family farms as wells as food supply concerns such as food safety, the non-GMO label movement, humane animal treatment, and the interest in environmentally friendly practices."
- Traceability also helps consumers to know which food brands to trust.
After searching extensively for data regarding the importance of traceability across different generations from survey reports provided by Nielsen and Deloitte, among others, we were unable to find hard statistics for the same. However, we came across a report provided the levels of trust for millennials, Gen X, and baby boomers. The source also related its findings to their trust of brands. As such, we built on this information, using other research findings to establish that traceability is most important to millennials. We assumed that, since traceability promotes transparency, and transparency breeds trust, then the generation with the highest level of mistrust would be most impacted by traceability.
Most data regarding traceability was provided from surveys conducted in time frames that are older than Wonder's standard two-year timeline for sourced reports. As such, we utilized some old reports in computing our findings. However, the oldest report utilized was in 2014, and it only provided reasons why traceability is important to consumers. Apart from that, we used two reports from 2016. We assumed that each generation considered, as well as their trends would not have changed significantly within five years. Also, recent reports which we used provided similar data.