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Top Food and Beverage Industry Trend of 2017: Product Data Transparency

By BLUE Software

It’s that time of year again.  “Best of,” “top 10,” and “roundup” lists highlighting the year’s biggest, and most memorable, moments are making headlines everywhere.  And the food and beverage industry is no exception.  It too has its fair share of these end-of-the-year lists, and for 2017, a frequently cited trend on said lists is an increased consumer demand for product data transparency and clarity.

Truth be told, the appearance of this trend on so many lists isn’t too surprising.  Drivers of purchase behavior that were once considered niche are quickly becoming mainstream. These drivers include health and wellness, safety, social impact, experience, and product data transparency. In fact, in Deloitte’s recent study, “Capitalizing on the Shifting Consumer Value Equation,” 51% of consumers reported these drivers played not a minor, but a major role in their purchasing behaviors.  More than ever, consumers want guarantees when it comes to the food and beverages they purchase.

And without these guarantees, brand loyalty will quickly die. Mobile technology and universal connectivity have created an expectation among consumers for on-demand, specific information about their purchases.  As a Label Insight report summarizes, “This is the new landscape of loyalty, where brands that can meet consumer expectations for product information, delivered instantly via digital channels, will create a new dynamic of trust, convenience and long term value.”

This means that for manufacturers in 2018, a key priority will have to be on increasing transparency regarding ingredients, production, and supply chain, and on focusing on clean label products.  In fact, according to FoodBev Media, 2018 could see more widespread disclosures by brands to ease consumers’ fears about the products they purchase, with ‘organic’ or ‘no additives’ labeling becoming the norm.

To accomplish this, food and beverage companies need to infuse quality into their processes and preserve control over the end-to-end packaging and labeling process, including all label and artwork assets, communication, and interaction with key stakeholders.

Product Data Transparency in Two Easy Steps

  1. Preserve Control over Label and Artwork Assets

One way to improve the product data available on your labels while still preserving control over label and artwork assets is by implementing a Label and Artwork Management solution. Workflow management and online proofing software enable package development teams to organize the complexity of change processes in which many people need to approve artwork and packaging changes – making the process efficient, effective, and repeatable while mitigating risk.

How?  A Label and Artwork Management solution provides valuable context to approval workflows. It helps users automatically compare the new statement to the old statement, approved graphic to final graphic, new version to previous version. You eliminate version confusion, endless email threads, and hard copies of your label and artwork assets lying around the office.  Instead, your team can simultaneously proof online, and in real time, while creating an auditable trail of feedback.  Add the power to approve once and then execute approved changes across multiple stock-keeping units (SKUs), and now teams are achieving quality results at scale.

Furthermore, a Label and Artwork Management solution allows the project owner to provide clear review instructions and it enables easy access to relevant source documentation (specifications, technical drawings, and approved regulatory content). Often, reviewers are unsure what to check due to lack of context, but this is easily remedied by guidance documents detailing who is requesting the change, who is approving the request, and what documentation is available to support the change.

  1. Consistently Distribute Product Data Across All Shopper Channels

Consumers’ immersion in the digital world fundamentally changes the way food and beverage companies deliver product and marketing content to their audience. To meaningfully engage, companies will have to provide rich and value-added product label content that fosters trust, promotes health, communicates value, and above all: engenders product data transparency.  And innovative food and beverage companies will employ a product label content strategy that accounts for the multiple product data distribution channels they have at their disposal.

This is also where a Label and Artwork Management solution can add value.  A Label and Artwork Management solution stores the final, approved and audited digital label files with product information including romance copy, ingredient lists, and artwork required for e-commerce, retailers, and customers alike. Then, through a product content solution provider such as 1WorldSync, food and beverage companies can pull this product label content from the Label and Artwork Management solution and distribute it across all of its trading networks.

The end result? When a consumer scans a QR code on a package or searches for their product on Amazon, he or she is presented with up-to-date, accurate product images and information including item descriptions, nutritional information, ingredients, marketing claims, and warnings – all of which maintain trust, establish value, promote health, and give consumers what they want in 2018.

Product Data Transparency: Join the Revolution

The prevalence of “product data transparency” on so many “top trends of 2017” lists is evidence we are truly in the midst of a food revolution.  Brands looking to foster long-term customer loyalty will have no choice but to accommodate consumer preferences for information about the food they’re consuming, and embrace consumers’ willingness to use innovative digital channels to access this information.

To learn more about how you can improve product data transparency by preserving control over your label content, download our e-book: Eliminate Reactivity and Enable Creativity in Marketing.

Download Eliminate Reactivity and Enable Creativity in Marketing