Due to the rise in consumers wanting to have sustainable lifestyles and purchases, it comes with no surprise that product labelling has developed a fundamental role in the agri-food sector. Besides having the incredible role of informing the consumer, it now also functions as attracting attention to new consumer trends.
The Nutri score aiming for full transparency
It has been shown by recent studies that consumers increasingly want transparency on the nutritional composition of their products rather than brand loyalty and product appearance, as shown by the growth of companies marketing “imperfect produce” and reusable products. The Nutri-score was created based on this observation. This label, affixed to the front of many products, provides a quick and easy sign as to the nutritional quality of products offered in stores. The goal of this system is two-fold: popularize healthy foods (as well as their components) and encourage manufacturers to join the trend and improve the composition of their products to be competitive to the eye of the consumer. The Algorithm used to “score” the products takes into account the positive elements of the products – such as proteins, fibers, calcium, etc.- but also the negative elements- such as sugars, fats, salt, calories, etc.- in order to create a balanced overall score. Although it is placed only on some packages in some countries, it is computed since 2014 on all products via Open Food Facts.
Quality labels on food
In order to win over the trust of the consumer, agri-food manufacturers are relying increasingly on labels in addition to the Nutri-score. On top of the Country of Origin Labelling (CCOL) which guarantees the specific know how and geographical origin of a product, other labels have joined the race to specify and control products. Thus, we find the “leaf” labels on organic foods, “Premium” labels to attest to superior quality and COOL label to attest to geographical origins. But for Agri-food companies, being transparent and forth coming with (or without) these labels represent a financial windfall as well as a good way to place value on certain foods.
Food product labelling: Catching the attention of consumers
Leading the march towards transparency, the “Clean Labelling” trend has shown Agri-Food industrialists that they have everything to gain by improving their labels. It has become the single best way to get the attention of consumers all the while informing them about their products. Due to software specially designed for this effect- such as a PLM (Product Lifecycle Management)- there is a simple and direct way to create labels that respond to all the legal demands. The goal is not simply to gain the trust of potential consumers by putting forth transparency, but also to conform to the law by listing ingredients, nutritional values, etc. For the Agri-Food sector, a quality label demonstrates a quality brand and therefore more worthy of trust and loyalty.
New usda regulations
USDA regulations aims to force manufacturers to inform customers better about what they are purchasing and eating. The Administration regularly dictates, simplifies and clarifies labeling to keep it up to date with trends and the goal of being transparent with customers. USDA regulations apply to all final consumer food items, from the producer to the restaurant owner including but not limited to the food trade and distributors. The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) demands pre-approval of special claims on the topic of quality of the product such as, “All Natural”, “USDA Organic” and all “Without” statements.
The advantages and Disadvantages of usda regulations
The new USDA regulation requires food industry professionals to label 12 pieces of mandatory information on their products including but not limited to; allergens, net quantity, place of origin, nutrition, directions of use, etc. This regulation promotes transparency with the consumer and encourages better products from the manufacturer. And although it may seem constraining in some aspects it also has the added benefit of putting forth the strengths of the product. Nutri-score, quality labeling, and transparency is the best way of catching the eye of potential new customers and improve the brand image.