Why brand ingredients information raises sales

A customer shops for honey at a Nairobi supermarket. Clients buy brands which provide clear, more detailed information. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU | NMG
A customer shops for honey at a Nairobi supermarket. Clients buy brands which provide clear, more detailed information. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU | NMG 

Revealing product ingredient information on packaging increases consumer purchase, trust and loyalty, research has found.

“Consumers nowadays are very cautious in what they purchase; they need assurance that a product they intend to buy will not have side effects and so they will have keen interest in the ingredients used to make it, especially in food and personal care products,” said brand strategist Stella Kimani.

“When buying food at a restaurant, some consumers will not order unless they ask waiters questions in regard to ingredients used to prepare the meal, and if they refuse to reveal it then the restaurant loses customers. The same applies to personal care products. If consumers are not familiar with ingredients used or do not have the source information they are likely not to buy for fear of a skin problem or going bald.”

Brand transparency is an important element in marketing a product; with consumers able to research online on a product if the information is not provided.

“If the product ingredient information is almost unreadable or hidden on the packing it raises consumers’ suspicion on the safety of the product, which reduces the purchase intention.

They will consider buying the next available option, which has ingredients clearly indicated, even if it is more expensive,” said Ms Kimani. Marini Naturals, a Kenyan natural hair care company, for instance, lists its product ingredients on its packaging such that the consumer is able to read them at first sight. More information is at the back.

For example, Marini Naturals lists ingredients on its conditioner, used to detangle hair knots; as flax seed gel, shea butter and vanilla extract. The ingredients are written in white fonts on a brown bottle.

It also gives a detailed description of what each does to hair and their benefits. This gives the product an added advantage at the point of sale — in a rising competitive market — as it makes it easier for consumers to choose what meets their needs. It can even lead to brand loyalty in the long run.

According to a 2016 study on the return on investment in brand transparency, Label Insight, a US company that specialises in product data, found that consumers want more than just the required information on a product’s label.

They will buy and be loyal to brands which provide more detailed information.

In fact, 94 per cent of respondents said that transparency is important to their purchase decisions, 39 per cent said they would switch from their current preferred brand to a new one if offered full product transparency, 56 per cent said they would be loyal for life if they were provided with complete transparency, while 73 per cent said they would be willing to pay more for a product that offers complete transparency in all attributes.

“They want to see everything from a complete ingredient breakdown to sourcing information.

‘‘What’s more, if a brand does not provide them with this information consumers will look elsewhere for it. This puts brands in a vulnerable position, one that involves shoppers consuming (and likely believing) third-party information about their products,” reported Label Insight.

“However, there is a bright side. Brands have an opportunity to define a single and complete source of product truth by providing all of the information consumers want upfront.

‘‘This way brands can not only generate trust by being completely transparent about their products, but also shift the balance of control with the information that exists about their products online.”

- African Laughter