A Packaging Digest article “Fair-trade food labels can befuddle shoppers,” explains how special descriptions on food jars, like labels categorizing products as “organic”, “fair-trade” or “locally made” could be sending the wrong message to consumers. Based on studies from the University of Michigan, ethical-based labels on food jars are often thought of as being more health-friendly than those without similar labels. With that rationale you could eat all the chocolate in the world as long as it was from Jimmy’s Chocolate shop just down the street.
Before you try to fly off a bridge (hey, if cookies won’t leave an inch on our waistlines as long as we buy them from Uncle Joe down the street, who knows what we’re capable of!) let’s break this low calorie assumption down. At first glance I thought a design similarity, connecting low calorie or low-fat food labels and the fair-trade label must be to blame, imaging that customers bought based on visual memory and similarity.
I was wrong. It turns out consumers are reading while they are shopping, which if you really think about it, is good news. On the other hand it also means that these shoppers are in fact aware that the labels mention no connection to special food nutrition, yet they get the impression that this food is better for them than the food jars packaged underpaid people in international countries.
The labels on food jars aren’t exactly confusing anyone; they’re instead encouraging consumers to think longer and deeper about the ethical standards they describe. There’s nothing greater than the creation of products locally by well-treated and kind workers, in fact, a vision like this could warm just about any ones heart. Possibly even warm it to the point that the product itself is envisioned as a wholesome extension of the work being done. Though this idea is heartwarming, such mind lapses are causing issues in regards to the consumption of unhealthy products in food jars.
Marketing is about suggesting ideas and concepts to potential consumers to shape their knowledge and ideas surrounding a given product. Ethical-based labels on food jars are definitely suggesting something about the product inside, but it’s not necessarily something brands intended for their product to communicate. So, as businesses, how can we use labels on food jars to more clearly represent our products?
A company known as Which? in the UK released a study called, “Making Sustainable Food Choices Easier,” which explores the idea of making eco-friendly labeling on food jars easier for everyday consumers to understand. The points discussed in the study could also be of value to those interested in using an ethical label on food jars. The run down includes keeping things simple, making sure the label stands out so it can have the most impact, consistently placing the label in a designated spot on each of the food jars so it is automatically noticed and understood and making sure the information included on the label is based on fact.
Local companies and fair-trade unions are important and deserve to be recognized for the work they do. Give your efforts the credit they deserve by presenting clearly defined labels on your product’s food jars.
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