How clean products help firms grow

| 13th February 2019
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Image Credit: John LeGear/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0
Clean products not only are beneficial for the environment and our health, but businesses also reap the benefits of more trust from consumers.

When consumers feel companies are trustworthy, they're arguably more likely than not to support those brands.

Many people have noticed the buzz about something known as the clean label movement. Consumable products and those in the beauty sector are particularly likely to have the clean label designation. But, what exactly is a clean product?

Some variations in the definition exist, but it generally means an item free from unnecessary ingredients and made of familiar components people can pronounce. So, clean products appeal to individuals who want to be more aware of what they put into or on their bodies. Often, sustainability is part of clean products, too.

The goal is to provide a greater level of transparency, thereby empowering people to make more informed choices about what they buy and which companies they support. Besides benefitting consumers, clean products can be advantageous to businesses and foster their growth.

Build trust

Research indicates that people are fed up with brands that aren't transparent about what they offer. If individuals don't view brands as trustworthy, they're likely to look elsewhere to find a brand that makes them feel more confident.

A 2016 Label Insights study showed 94 percent of respondents were likely to be loyal to brands that provided complete transparency. Also, the survey indicated there's no need for manufacturers to go to extreme lengths to highlight that products are healthy. That's because more than half of those polled said they use personal determinations to decide what's healthy and what isn't.

When consumers feel companies are trustworthy, they're arguably more likely than not to support those brands. After all, if entities aren't straightforward about which ingredients they use, it's easy for people to wonder what else they might be concealing.

Moreover, a lack of trust can have severe consequences. An investigation from Sprout Social that took a close look at the effects of transparency indicated that 86 percent of people would take their business to competitors if they perceived brands to lack transparency.

Conversely, though, the presence of transparency builds a level of trust that makes people more forgiving after company mistakes occur. More specifically, the Sprout Social study showed when a company has a history of transparency, 85 percent of people are more likely than not to give them second chances.

Boost sales

Companies do a variety of things to increases their profits. Some run creative social media campaigns while others alter their packaging to make it more appealing and eye-catching in a crowded supermarket aisle where various things compete for shoppers attention. Those efforts can help, but it's also becoming increasingly important to make it simple for people to check ingredients.

That's because statistics indicate three-fourths of people say that they read nutritional and ingredient labels found on food and think it's important to see mostly recognizable ingredients when they survey the information. Author Michael Pollan urged people to be more conscious of what they consume over a decade ago. He recommended that foods contain five or fewer ingredients, all of them pronounceable.

Also, research from Nielsen shows an upward trend in the market share of clean label products. It's not just from a niche segment of consumers, either. Nielsen discovered more than half of shopping trips contain clean goods, and certain consumer segments gravitate towards those items at above-average rates. Companies could cater to the desire to read labels by simplifying the packaging designs and using callouts like "No artificial flavors or colors."

Outside of clean products people eat, Sephora is making it even easier for people to buy products free from unwanted ingredients. It launched a "Clean at Sephora" section in 2018 that features all the clean beauty products in one area of stores or on the website. Now, people can shop at Sephora and know that they can get clean products there. As such, Sephora's sales should go up as it caters to an identified need.

In addition to making overall sales rise, companies that offer clean products may find that their profits improve because people will pay a premium for natural ingredients. Research from Lycored indicated 88 percent of people would spend more on items with natural ingredients. And, when presented with a hypothetical about naturally flavored milk, participants said they'd pay 47 percent more for it.

Embrace innovation

Although consumers like consistency for some aspects of products, such as quality and price, they also appreciate new offerings that keep pace with societal changes. When enterprises don't innovate, they could become stagnant and get swallowed up by competitors.

In recent years, various companies made changes to support the public's interest in clean products. Dunkin' Donuts, Smoothie King and Panera Bread are some examples of well-known brands that changed their ways of doing things to get rid of artificial ingredients.

DuPont could soon help those brands and many others figure out how to successfully innovate in ways that align with the desire for clean products without being prohibitively cost-intensive. It will have a clean label hub in Denmark, and one of the priorities of the people who work in that facility will be to devise new clean texturants — the ingredients that make food feel pleasant in the mouth— to replace the artificial ones frequently used now.

This kind of innovation promotes growth in several ways. As a start, it gives the perception that brands listen to what people want and respond to trends. When individuals believe brands care about what they want, they could be especially likely to support them. Plus, innovation allows companies to potentially cut manufacturing costs or reduce inefficient processes, which could provide more resources to build the enterprises.

The research showcased here, and numerous other conclusions, show that the clean label movement is here to stay and in demand. When companies recognize that and respond accordingly, they naturally innovate, which helps them grow as reputable entities and brands that match customers preferences and purchasing habits.

This Author

Emily Folk is a conservation and sustainability writer and the editor of Conservation Folks.

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