Consumers are looking for 'cleaner' labels, and own brand purveyors are providing them

CHICAGO — Harkening back to the days of no-frills national-brand-equivalent products, more and more consumers are gravitating toward "cleaner" products. But today, it's a matter of substance over form, meaning savvy consumers are stockpiling those products by virtue of what's inside them as opposed to more simple, "cleaner" packaging.

Retailers have responded by providing more products that feature limited, simple ingredients, are organic or are free of allergens across their own brand offerings, according to the latest Nielsen report. Clean labeling has proven to be a way for retailers to distinguish themselves from the norm and offer something unique and represent 27% of all new product offerings today.

Those clean brand offerings are growing at a clip of 7.2%, Nielsen reported, as compared with a decline in conventional product private label sales of 0.5%.

"Consumers are paying more attention to what they buy — and that goes for foods, beverages and nonfood categories like personal care and vitamins and supplements.”

As a result of the consumer focus on transparency, claims like “natural,” “organic” and “gluten free” have become common on the packages of products throughout stores. These claims are driving notable sales increases. Products that make organic claims, for instance, are up 10% from a year ago, Nielsen reported.

"Consumers are paying more attention to what they buy — and that goes for foods, beverages and nonfood categories like personal care [and] vitamins and supplements," noted Nielsen in its latest Clean Label report. "Today, the 'why' and 'how' behind the products have become as important as the product itself, oftentimes becoming the primary decision-making criteria that drives a purchase. This has added an entirely new layer of complexity to the way consumer goods companies develop and market their products to consumers."

According to recent survey results from product data company Label Insight, 39% of U.S. consumers reported they would switch from the brands they currently buy to others that provide clearer, more accurate product information. Additionally, 73% of consumers surveyed by Nielsen said they feel positively about brands that share the “why behind the buy” information about their products. And 68% of those respondents reported they’d be willing to spend more for foods and beverages that don’t contain ingredients that they perceive are bad for them.

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