As we’re internally preparing to launch our own GMA SmartLabel solution within our Q*Engine platform for brands and manufacturers, the news stories coming out of different regions of the world and discussions around consumer transparency all seem to indicate 2016 is the right time for something like the SmartLabel initiative to take-off.
To start off with, it’s evident that most people as consumers are more interested and actively reading labels and product details for what goes into their food products, cleaning products or other groceries. Last year saw a number of reports pointing towards the fact that consumers want to know what is in the products they consume and are demanding more information. However, that’s not the only indicator that we are in times when the consumers’ behavior is changing. We’ve noticed our own families, friends and the people we know are talking about these things and are more actively looking at label information as well as going online to research the products they are buying.
The UK over the last week has seen a lot of discussion and debates around consumer transparency and making more product information available to consumers after local government authorities pushed for new alcohol labeling rules to include details like calorie counts to control the problem of obesity through alcohol beverages. With more consumers joining the debate, there are rapid changes happening towards improving labeling and there are severe restrictions on space and how much you can convey on traditional print labels.
In the last 7 days alone, there were news stories on food safety-related topics from Ireland, China, United States, Canada, India and other regions around the world indicating just how important this topic is today. In an atmosphere where a change in access to consumer specific product information is the need of the hour, the GMA SmartLabel initiative comes at an opportune moment for CPG brands and manufacturers to actively look at. As a united effort of brands and manufacturers globally, if the bulk of grocery manufacturers around the world back and implement the SmartLabel, it could become the technology foundation on which future requirements around labeling and regulatory compliances can be met as they are debated. If not, there may be several individual technologies or demands made by regulators within each region and a lack of uniformity in how consumers get their information.
As we go into 2016, we’re at a crossroads in how information delivery for groceries and CPG products will be delivered to consumers. The GMA SmartLabel solution is one of those roads and comes at a good time. Brands like Hershey Co, Kellogs, J.M. Smucker, Nestle and other leading food manufacturers have already started leading the way decisively. Whether and how soon the other manufacturers and brands across the world make an active move, only time will tell. The consumer is ready.The ball is in the manufacturer’s court.