Store Brands

FEB 2017

Store Brands delivers unprecedented strategic and tactical information needed by retail executives to develop and support compelling, differentiated store brand programs to build customer loyalty.

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Health & Wellness 3 2 Store Brands / February 2017 / gathering that consumers are looking for shorter ingredient lists, and they're looking for ingredients that they can understand that don't sound too much like chemicals," notes Carl Jorgensen, director of global consumer strategy and wellness for Stamford, Conn.-based Daymon Worldwide. Journalist and activist Michael Pollan has been credited with creating the clean label movement's rallying cry in his 2008 book In Defense of Food: Avoid food products containing ingredients that are unfamiliar, unpronounceable or more than five in number. The broadening of the movement to "clean and clear label" underscores the growing clamor for transparency. A product can be clean label without being clear label, Jorgensen says. "For example, a common ingredient in clean label products is 'natural flavorings.' That term is very obscure," he maintains, "because it doesn't explain what those flavorings are." Consumers don't just want to know what's in the foods they eat and the personal care and cleaning products they use; they also want to know the provenance of those products and their ingredients. Transparency today applies to the entire supply chain. Millennials in particular care not only about a product's health and wellness profile, but also about whether all parties involved in the item's production and distribution are committed to environmental sustainability, humane work practices, animal welfare and other social causes. While the clean and clear label revolution seems to demand much from retailers with private label lines, small steps can pay big dividends, Jorgensen says. Overcoming skepticism It's easy to be skeptical of and overwhelmed by the hundreds of substances that currently raise consumer concerns, most of which the FDA deems generally recognized as safe (GRAS). Although she applauds the desire to eat healthfully, Heather Mangieri, RDN, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, believes that easy access to questionable information online perpetuates food phobias. "Putting fear in food is never a positive thing," Mangieri contends. "We have one of the safest foods supplies in the world. Yet we have so much controversy surrounding it." Consumers have long had concerns about food ingredients, which have shifted over time, adds Carol Spieckerman, founder of Bentonville, Ark.-based Spieckerman Retail. What sets the clean and clear label movement apart is that "it's more complex and it's getting more granular," she observes. Although some consumer concerns are misguided, that shouldn't matter to retailers, which need to sell their products and have little hope of disabusing shoppers of their fears and aversions, Jorgensen notes. "I don't think there is any doubt that some of their fears are unfounded," he says. "Consumers sometimes get worked up about things when there is no scientific basis for their concerns. "But who are you selling your products to? You're selling them to consumers; you're not selling them primarily to food scientists. You need to find out what consumers' beliefs and

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