Consumers see digital labelling as a valuable way to gain more knowledge about product ingredients, sourcing and environment performance a new study by NATRUE shows.
The study, conducted in collaboration with Mindline, polled the attitudes of around 1,000 consumers in France and Germany to product labelling generally and to the role of digital labelling, accessed via QR codes or apps.
Current regulatory requirements mean that on-pack information is mandatory for elements such as ingredients labelling and aspects to help orientate and protect consumers. E-labelling is seen as an opportunity to provide valuable complementary information to support on-pack declarations, with the potential to become a viable alternative form of labelling in the future.
Natural and organic cosmetics is a category where there is already a higher demand for more detailed information on ingredients, environmental impacts and socioethical aspects of product manufacturing. At the same time, consumers often complain about being confronted with unreadably small on-pack information, or confusing certification and ethical labels.
NATRUE designed its study to understand consumers’ perception, expectation, fulfilment and trust levels in digital tools when it comes to product information, claims and labelling.
The study found high existing use of natural or organic beauty and personal care products in both France and Germany, at 57% and 52% respectively (both are mature markets). Around a third of respondents in both countries said they had already searched for product information in places other than on-pack, and around a third again said they would find more off-pack information ‘very helpful’.
57% of French consumers and 49% of German consumers said their preferred information delivery method was ‘on-pack with complementary information available online or in an app’.
‘Ingredients list’ came in 3rd (Germany) and 4th (France) place in a ranking of purchasing criteria (‘Price’ topped the ranking in both countries).
When asked why additional, off-pack information would be useful to them, ‘The ingredients list is written too small’, ‘I often do not understand ingredients list’ and ‘I cannot find sufficient information about allergens in the product’ were the three most commonly given reasons.
When asked to consider to be the most effective off-pack information delivery system, respondents ranked on-pack QR-codes and websites the highest, with shelf-based information (leaflets) second and online ratings and reviews third.
* Download the key findings of the study here.