A seismic shift is about to take effect in the consumer goods marketplace, and companies who stay ahead of the curve are going to gain a significant advantage. In response to increased consumer interest in product ingredients, many of the leading food, beverage, and consumer product companies have already started to adopt a new method of sharing relevant product information: the SmartLabel Transparency Initiative. From company to retailer, to consumer, there are many potential upsides to offering product transparency, and every consumer goods company or retailer should seriously consider participating.

The SmartLabel Transparency Initiative is led by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA). SmartLabel is a simple, yet effective way to share a detailed list of ingredients and product attributes and thereby increase consumer trust. Top consumer brands such as PepsiCo, J.M. Smucker, Unilever, and Nestlé have already created SmartLabels and incorporated them into consumer packaging. In fact, many companies are realizing in order to survive, it’s becoming increasingly important to make their product information more transparent to the consumer. Why? Because voluntary transparency not only builds consumer trust but indicates a good faith effort to adhere to government regulations.

How do SmartLabels work?

Until now, the product package structure, substrate, and size have confined the amount of product information that can be shared with a consumer. However, smartphones have changed these limitations. Today, any shopper in a brick-and-mortar store interested in learning more details about a product’s attributes can scan a SmartLabel QR code on a mobile device. The shopper will instantly access a SmartLabel landing page that lists additional details about the product, including manufacturing location or ingredient origin, as well as any updated claims or warnings. These product web pages will also be accessible to consumers via web search. SmartLabels will be especially helpful for consumers interested in whether the product they are considering contains allergens, ingredients that may be harmful to animals, ingredients that are environmentally unfriendly, or even genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Consumers will also have access to a product’s positive attributes, like how much fiber it contains or what percentage of daily vitamins it has. In short, consumers can protect themselves against ingredients that might be harmful or a poor fit for their lifestyle choices or dietary restrictions, and they can also make informed, health-enhancing decisions by researching the most nutritious products available.

Why now?

There is a marked increase in changes to regulations on the way in which ingredients are disseminated to consumers, for example, the introduction of GMO legislation in the United States and Europe. This means the benefits are higher now than perhaps ever for brands using a communication method like SmartLabel to keep marketing claims up to date and product information transparent for consumers.

How can I get started with SmartLabel?

Most companies already have the necessary data for SmartLabel, but it’s in the formulation lab, on the package or on someone’s laptop. With access to the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN), this information can be shared with consumers worldwide. Aligning with leading CPG companies by implementing SmartLabel on your products is exceptionally easy to do for BLUE users. BLUE has active partnerships with 1WorldSync, the leading data provider to the GDSN, and Label Insight, the FDA’s source for verifying ingredient claims. These partnerships enable BLUE customers to easily and confidently share their approved product information, to automatically generate SmartLabels and publish them to online retailers or e-commerce platforms.

How exactly do BLUE and its partners help you with SmartLabel execution?

Throughout the label and artwork workflow in BLUE, a product’s information is reviewed, changed, finalized and stored. Therefore, when creating SmartLabels, there is no need to re-review or route information to another department. The information already exists in BLUE and is approved for use. When using BLUE connected with Label Insight or 1WorldSync, brands simply create SmartLabels as an additional step in their end-to-end workflow.

Allowing you a quick and easy way to join the SmartLabel™ initiative is just one more way using BLUE helps you build healthy relationships between your brands and your consumers. BLUE has a team of experts that can help you navigate the complexities of implementing the SmartLabel process in the best, most cost-efficient way.

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