In a recent FMI-Label Insight study, many consumers indicated that product transparency is an extremely important part of their purchasing decision. This was especially true in more affluent homes with higher household incomes and consumers who do a lot of online shopping. The FMI noted that this report was built on a previous 2018 report citing product transparency as a rising factor in decision making.

So, what determines brand or product transparency? Factors such as ingredients, nutrition, sustainability, and certifications all play a role in determining this. Many consumers expect a full list of ingredients with information that includes sourcing detail and ingredient use, as well as a plain English description of the ingredients. Other signs of transparency include certifications like “USDA organic” or product claims like “heart healthy.” Consumers also want information on a company’s values. Details about fair trade, labor practices, sustainability efforts and treatment of animals are all important to consumers.

While most consumers expect full transparency from the brands they buy from, the study also showed that they don’t fully trust information from brands and government agencies. Knowing that customers want transparency is one thing but acting on your claim is the only way to build trust. It is important for brands to listen to their customers to continue to keep pace with their changing preferences going forward.

Consumers aren’t currently distinguishing between brick-and-mortar locations and online stores when it comes to their lack of trust. However, they are holding a higher standard for online stores to show transparency because consumers use the internet to find information when they are seeking further details about a product. The trend to seek more information online is especially high in younger generations like Millennials and Generation X. Much of the product information they are looking for is in relation to trending dietary habits and food sensitivities.

A brand’s commitment to transparency must be prioritized now more than ever as close to half of consumers will look elsewhere if product information is not detailed enough. These changing customer demands have fueled a need for more product transparency in the industry and those who listen and act authentically will build a loyal customer-base.