Why COVID-19 Will Boost Demand For Brands With Simple Ingredients And Transparent Labels


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Over the last many years, an anxious public has gravitated towards brands and services that are transparent, “honest,” and convenient.

Simple product design
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To cope with a world that seems to become more anxiety-provoking, stressful and chaotic by the day, many have begun to call on food and other lifestyle brands to help us simplify at least one small aspect of our lives: Deciding what we put in and on our bodies. In turn, shoppers have asked companies to simplify their products with easy-to-understand ingredients and transparent sourcing.
, more than half of 1,300 respondents from across North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific said that recognition of ingredients was one of the biggest reported drivers of product choice.
As you’ve likely noticed, products increasingly tout labels like “clean” and “simple.” Nielsen calls this a “
mainstream movement
,” citing that 93 percent of US households have now purchased a “clean”-labeled product at grocery stores—be it food, vitamins, or personal care items.
Globally, people have been avoiding brands that refuse to comply with these transparency demands. A survey by Label Insight and the Food Marketing Institute found that three-quarters of shoppers say they would switch to a brand that provides more in-depth product information. Meanwhile, 70 percent of survey takers queried by the Atlanta-based brand communications firm Response Media said their purchases are “always or often influenced by transparency content.” When the 2017 James Beard Foundation Consumer Research Project looked into this topic, a whopping 90 percent of respondents said they want to “understand the ingredients in their foods.” Transparent products help shoppers feel in control of their decisions, and can facilitate a sense of trust between the purchaser and the brand, thereby reducing anxiety about a products’ safety, nutrition, or environmental impact.

Some brands have found that another way to help people in anxious times isn’t to just pull back the curtain on what’s in their products, but to simplify the numbers of offerings as well. Think: Quip toothbrushes, Casper mattresses, and Away suitcases. Limiting choice is also a commanding theme in grocery with popular German supermarket chain Aldi and American favorite Trader Joe’s offering curated selection of products. For many managing unending emails, demanding workdays, and a litany of other modern stressors, these business models help make one aspect of their lives feel a bit more manageable. (
I don’t need to choose between 12 kinds of ketchup? Thank you!
Who Gives a Crap toilet paper subscription box
Recent years have also spurred an obsession with subscription boxes. Overall, between 2014 and 2017, the American subscription market increased by an astounding 831 percent. Some of these services remove the fear of missing out on a “best” face cream or salsa by letting you sample a new variety each month. Others automate common errands, freeing up both the time you’d spend at the store and the mental space commonly dedicated to remembering to restock your must-have items, be it new underwear each season, or prescription medications once a month.
At the end of the day, all companies need to take a step back and re-assess their customer needs. In an increasingly volatile and unpredictable world, rates of anxiety are not likely to wane for quite some time. In this environment,
the brands that keep things simple, “authentic,” and convenient— that help people find that sense of security—are the ones who will win the hearts and dollars of an overwhelmed and exhausted public.
Sections of this article were adapted from

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