It is fair to say that, historically, product transparency has been very much focused around the make up of products - the ingredients and sourcing. Which is understandable when you consider needs such as allergen information. According to a recent study by the National Health Service (NHS) around 3% of the British population have a food allergy. Further research by The British Nutrition Foundation identified that 20 to 30% of the population believe they have a food intolerance.
Add to that an estimated 2 million people with direct health issues, who rely on the information you are publishing on your products. And beyond that, up to 15 to 20 million people who have a very strong interest in the data that you are putting on pack for their own health concerns.
According to Mintel, 68% of us are interested or trying our very best/hardest to eat healthily all the time or most of the time. The overarching question is, how to publish that healthy, nutritional, and dietary information in a way which is consistent and trusted by consumers?
Supporting corporate commitmentsIt’s not just about the food products anymore - it's about the packaging and sustainable credentials. How do we support those corporate commitments that businesses and making with setting targets ourselves?
We are seeing that in some of the reports such as those from the EU, show that over 84% of shoppers are considering the environmental impact in their purchasing decision making processes, but only half of them actually trust the claims that have been made. Highlighting the gap and the reason why we are focused on product transparency.
Questions to ask yourself and your team:
- - Are you confident you have an accurate product list?
- - Are you sure you have specifications for all those products?
- - Are you confident that the specifications are accurate and reflect the information on pack?
- - Are you maintaining fact checking on an ongoing basis?
- - Finally, can you report on it?
The challenge when dealing with product transparencyDue to the breadth and depth of information, retailers are having to manage exponential expansion. Not only that, but the supply base is also growing, as people seek innovative solutions. All of which, resulting in an extremely large level of complexity to bring that all back together. Which is why there can be many benefits to bringing your suppliers along on that journey to efficiency, clarity and success.
Using supplier engagement to effectively deliver your product transparency goalsSimplicity is key when engaging your suppliers to make sure that they are on the journey with you. In one sense, for every specialist you have in your team, there are on average 10 to 15 times that many specialists out in the supply chain, so if we engage with them we're effectively able to spread the load.
If you also consider the breadth and depth of information you are now having to gather is substantially more than ever before, the number of people you're going to need to talk to is bigger. You are unlikely going to get detailed packaging information from your sales account manager, for example.
Be proactive - don’t wait to connect and engage with your suppliers
1. Find the right contacts
You need to know who the supply specialists are, so finding the right contacts is crucial. Be proactive - do not wait until you need the information, align your team to gather all the necessary information so when the time comes your suppliers are lined up and ready to work with you to deliver on your goals.
2. Be strategic
Review the initiatives that you have coming down the track, own your plan and understand where your strategic next steps are.
3. Identify the data you're going to need
What data do you need from your suppliers? Where is it likely to come from in those suppliers? What roles is it going to need? Who are you going to talk to? And then help those suppliers help you.
4. Support your suppliers – give them the big picture
Explain the initiatives. What are you expecting your suppliers to do? Tell them when you are expecting them to do it. And, of course, explain how they can do it. In doing that, that investment in time will be more than rewarded in return, because you'll get that data back from suppliers in a quick fashion.