September 2020

Five Ways Certifications Connect With Consumers

Have you contemplated getting your products certified and wondered if it’s worth it? Here are five data-driven reasons why certifications are important right now, based on recent consumer and sales data indicating increasing demand for healthy foods, transparency and sustainability.
Why Certify? 5 Hot Tips

1. Define Your Company Values

The COVID-19 pandemic is motivating consumers to be more socially responsible, reports the ongoing benchmarking study, the Conscious Consumer Spending Index, which saw an increase in purchases from mission-driven brands in May. Global survey data from Nielson also finds that 73% of consumers want to change their consumption habits to reduce environmental impact.

Label claim certifications that call out your commitment to sustainability -- organic, non-GMO, plant-based, raised without antibiotics and more -- help your brand connect with conscious consumers.

2. Meet Your Target Consumers’ Expectations

Today’s health- and eco-minded shoppers expect more from brands. They demand clean, “free-from” and sustainably sourced ingredients. They scrutinize labels for preferred claims. A 2019 NSF International survey found that 85% of consumers trust independent, third-party certification organizations to verify product claims.

A 2020 survey by Linkage Research and the Non-GMO Project found that natural shoppers are more likely to buy products when they see these top certifications:

  • USDA organic: 41%
  • Non-GMO Project verified: 36%
  • Fair Trade certified: 21%
  • Certified Plant Based: 16%
  • Certified gluten-free: 15%

By demonstrating to consumers that your product meets or exceeds their expectations, third-party certifications help build trust in your brand.

3. Fact-Check Your Claims With Certifications

Natural products shoppers--those willing to pay more for healthy products--say they consider products’ certifications as much as they consider price, according to the NEXT 2019 Certifications Micro Survey from the New Hope Network. What's the best way to reach the 64% of consumers who research label claims when making buying decisions, according to NSF’s 2019 survey?

Progressive shoppers trust products with independent certification marks that verify the claims they value most.

4. Build Trust in Your Brand

Product transparency is paramount for today’s grocery shoppers. When food shopping in-store or online, 81% of consumers consider transparency important or extremely important, in new research from FMI-The Food Industry Association and Label Insight.

So how do brands effectively demonstrate transparency? Nearly half of those surveyed (48%) cite certifications such as USDA organic, ranking second only to providing a complete and clear ingredient list (62%). Put simply, brands that provide verification of ingredients and sourcing earn consumer trust.

5. Provide Competitive Differentiation

You have 13 seconds. Does your packaging communicate your brand values in the time it takes most consumers to make buying decisions? Well-recognized certification marks like organic, non-GMO and gluten-free help your products stand out on the shelf. Transparency-seeking consumers tend to favor brands with clear commitments to independent verification of these highly valued claims.

Sources:
- The Conference Board® Global Consumer Confidence Survey, conducted in collaboration with Nielsen, Q2 2017
- NSF International Consumer Product Concerns Survey, 2019
- The Non-GMO Project & Linkage Research Consumer Survey, 2020
- NEXT 2019 Certifications Micro Survey, New Hope Network
- Transparency Trends: Omnichannel Grocery Shopping from the Consumer Perspective, FMI and Label Insight, 2020
-
Shopping Takes Only Seconds…In-Store and Online, Ehrenberg-Bass Institute of Marketing Science, 2015

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