Label Insight’s report on shopping trends shows many consumers look at labels and care about what they say.

While 75% of shoppers look at labels on their food products before buying, many find them difficult to understand. This is something that food manufacturers and retailers need to pay close attention to. Sales can drop if people stop buying certain foods because they don’t understand their nutritional value. This is especially important as people move away from sugar, salt and artificial flavors and colors in favor of whole grains, protein and natural ingredients.

Eight in 10 consumers in the LOHAS category — which stands for living a lifestyle of health and sustainability — read food labels to look for fewer, and pronounceable, ingredients when shopping, according to the 2017 Market LOHAS Health & Natural Consumer Study.

Retailers can do their part by including signs near some of the products explaining the nutritional content and have store employees informed on some of the more popular products in case a customer asks for advice. Analysts contend that keeping up with consumers’ increasing demand for product transparency is one of the most challenging issues facing the food and beverage industry today. Even the Food and Drug Administration, which held a hearing earlier this month, is working to figure out what certain terms like natural mean.

At the end of 2015, the Grocery Manufacturers Association’s SmartLabel initiative launched and that has given rise to an increase in QR codes. Numerous manufacturers have already started using SmartLabel to disclose GMO ingredients and about 360 other product and company attributes. As more consumers look for certain ingredients in their foods, it will be up to manufacturers and the FDA to do a better job to inform the public.

Source: Food Dive