Sugar-free, NEW!, Lite, 0 Trans Fats, Made in U.S.A, Nutrition Facts, Kaua’i Made. Labels have become a way of life among American consumers. In fact, according to The Hartman Group’s “Pulse Report, Food and Beverage Labeling from a Consumer Perspective,” 30 percent of consumers say they read product labels ‘much more often’ now than in 2006.

The report also revealed that the top five drivers that motivated consumers to read labels included eating healthy, concerns about what’s in their food, food freshness, managing their weight, and checking where ingredients come from.

“Consumer food purchase decisions are becoming more and more complex,” said Hartman. “Marketers struggle with explaining increasingly complicated stories to consumers about what a food product is and how it’s good – from diverse standpoints ranging from health to ethics.”

Everyone from marketers to manufacturers, and even the government are jumping on the labeling bandwagon. A few years ago, the EPA, the specialty pesticide industry, environmental groups, and state and local governments started the Consumer Labeling Initiative to make chemical labels easier to read and understand, and with their “Read the Label FIRST!” campaign, encourage consumer label reading. FDA officials are debating whether changes in food labels might help consumers make healthy choices. And, legislators across the country are signing bills into law that force companies to increase their level of transparency regarding product ingredients and origins.

What can you learn from this? Know that your consumers want more information than ever before about what you sell. That means you and your employees have to learn more about your products and be able to impart that information as clearly as possible to customers. Tell your story and provide more details and your consumers will thank you for it.

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