By Daniel Lohman, CPSA – February 3, 2016

Transparency has always been the cornerstone of natural with ingredients that are simple and easy to understand and causes that resonate with consumers. The Non-GMO movement plays a big role in taking this to the next level including with foods that are not traditionally thought of as natural.

Market LOHAS (Lifestyle Of Health And Sustainability) recently released a New Industry Report to help better understand and identify consumer perceptions around organic and Non-GMO. What makes the study important and relevant is that the panelists are committed natural consumers (LOHAS Shoppers) as opposed to other surveys that include less committed natural/better-for-you consumers. This laser-focus provides a unique and important insight into the beliefs, perspectives, and values of the consumers that are ultimately responsible for driving sustainable growth in the natural channel. The results of this study were highlighted recently during a breakout industry thought leader panel at Natural Product Expo East. It was also presented by Market LOHAS at Sustainatopia.

The survey indicated that 57% of consumers shop Non-GMO over organic. Consumers surveyed place more value on “trusted brands” (up +48%) compared to products labeled as “natural” (down -36%). It revealed that “top brand choice purchase factors (among regular Non-GMO buyers) were 1) the ingredient list, 2) Non-GMO, 3) taste, and 4) organic”.  Notably, the study highlighted the confusion and the mis-understanding between Non-GMO and organic – it mirrored the confusion found in non LOHAS consumers.

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While “92% of consumers want Non-GMO product labeling, 70% said they bought or switched brands because they were Non-GMO.” This is significant and is great news for the Non-GMO movement. It clearly reinforces the need for brands to be accountable for the products they sell. The increased demand for Non-GMO products is spilling into mainstream foods as well further fueling the movement.

The need for greater transparency was woven throughout the entire survey. One key highlight was that “70% of Non-GMO consumers seek transparency”. Transparency includes the need to source/trace ingredients back to their origin, products with trusted third party certifications, easy to read product ingredients, products sold by trusted natural retailers, and items produced locally. The bottom line is that consumers want to not only know what is in their food, they also want to know how their food is produced. They want to trust that the foods they feed their families provide the best highest quality nutrients to fuel and support their healthy lifestyles.

What does transparency mean to you? Share and invite others to comment.

Several innovative companies are taking a leadership role around traceability going well beyond third-party product labeling. MegaFood is raising the bar on transparency in the industry by placing live cameras broadcasting from throughout their production facility on their website continually. This is dramatically changing the conversation around transparency while it challenges other brands to showcase the authenticity of their brands and the causes they support. MegaFood CEO, Robert Craven outlines their thought leadership around transparence and their effort to enable “consumers to make intentional choices based on easy access to relevant and truthful information about products, ingredients, sourcing, and business practices”. Learn more as Robert showcases the MegaFood the “Big T Transparancy” initiative on this video.

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Shoppers want products they can trust and retailers want to be the go-to-destination for shopper’s needs. CMS4CPG specializes in connecting quality natural organic brands with shoppers.

The 2015 Market LOHAS Mambotrack Annual Natural and Organic Survey contains additional eye opening consumer insights. Visit their website http://www.marketlohas.comfor more information about Market LOHAS Research & Studies. The 2015 Market LOHAS Mambotrack Annual Natural & Organic Study Survey was fielded online among 1000 health & natural shoppers.

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