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Study shows packaging contributing to the obesity crisis
Research reveals how product packaging causes consumers to make unhealthy purchases
Nick Martin, SVP Northern Europe at Trace One commented: “These results are both proof and a warning of packaging’s power. While we know that packaging is important for the retail industry, that means it can be linked with both good and bad results such as, in this case, the nation’s obesity problem. Retailers and manufacturers need to ensure that their packaging isn’t even partly to blame for such developments. Instead, packaging should be as clear and accurate as possible so that consumers cannot believe they are being misled.”
Despite a perception that women are more health conscious than men, both sexes placed equal importance on packaging’s role in tackling Britain’s health problems. However, there are noticeable differences in opinion based on age. Younger age groups (16-34) place more importance on packaging influencing their purchasing decisions (75% of 16-24s and 76% of 25-34s), whereas in the oldest age group (55-64) just 47% claim this. This suggests that packaging has a greater influence on younger consumers, making them more likely to make unhealthy choices if packaging is inaccurate, unclear or otherwise misleading.
The study also reveals that consumers find label information such as the Traffic Light System and Guideline Daily Amounts (GDA) tables confusing, making working out nutritional values and so making healthier purchasing decisions too time consuming. As such, 85% of consumers want an industry-wide standard to be introduced across the packaging and labelling industry to improve clarity and consistency, as well as provide more accurate information on products.
Nick Martin commented: “It’s good to see that the majority of consumers are calling for a more standardised packaging and labelling process. If this is developed, it will help eliminate confusing packaging and more clearly communicate which products are healthier than others. This in turn will help retailers to really make a difference when it comes to tackling the nation’s obesity crisis. However, redesigning packaging to meet these changes, as well as constantly evolving legislation within the industry that demands compliance, can be a significant burden for retailers in terms of complexity and the time and cost it takes to design and develop packaging. As a result, retailers will need to simplify these processes as much as possible.”
The survey also highlights how different consumer groups are affected by the level of detail and accuracy within packaging information. 69% of respondents claim that allergy sufferers are more restricted when buying food that they can trust is safe, as retailers are often over-cautious about allergen labelling. General statements like ‘may contain nuts’ regardless of actual ingredients cover the retailer, but risk limiting product choice for allergy sufferers who must err on the side of caution.
Nick Martin concluded: “Along with the link between packaging and the nation’s health, the research suggests that, for retailers, beating the competition is no longer just about price. Instead, packaging can be used as a key brand differentiator and can help retailers demonstrate their innovation and product quality. In addition, the industry should focus on presenting more ranges to suit different consumer groups such as allergen sufferers and they can do this through private label development.”
A sample of 2033 GB adults aged 16-64 were interviewed by TNS in June 2012.
About Trace One
Trace One is a global leader in collaborative solutions for the private label and branded goods industry. Our mission is to drive food and non-food product innovation, support brand protection, and accelerate time-to-market for retailers, manufacturers and food service companies.
We are committed to enabling collaborative processes between retailers and manufacturers thereby optimizing the sourcing, tendering, launching and development of consumer goods, while controlling product information and ensuring product and food safety. This not only supports the protection of brands, but also maximizes profitability and competitiveness throughout the product lifecycle management process.
The solutions provided by Trace One are used by over 30 leading retailers worldwide, including 12 of the top 25, as well as 12,500 manufacturers in over 110 countries.
Trace One has a global presence in 13 countries (Australia, Belgium, Brazil, China, France, Ireland, Japan, Spain, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, UK and USA).