What’s the deal with the Natural & Organic seal?

Use of the terms “natural” and “organic” continue to cause consumer confusion and legal action in the industry, yet consumers still place a high value on products that carry either label.

Among the many claims that have emerged as consumers demand for cleaner and greener personal care products, “all natural” and “not tested on animals” are among the top five that men and women collectively say they’re willing to pay more for.

Of course, in the absence of standards, a label is only a label. The most responsible and committed companies will demonstrate that their products are backed by science or pursue third-party certifications.

In health and beauty categories in brick and mortar, here are the top labels that cause consumers to fill their baskets…

What you can and can’t say about natural and organic.

Organic food companies are very limited in law as to the claims they can make on their labels. The EU organic legislation states, “No claim may be made on the label that suggests to the purchaser that the (indication that the product is organic) constitutes a guarantee of superior organoleptic, nutritional or salubrious quality.”

In other words, making claims that organic food is tastier, better for you or superior in quality is not permitted. Terms such as “pesticide-free” or “not genetically modified” are also discouraged unless they can be proven factually – whilst organic food undoubtedly offers consumers the very best chance of avoiding pesticides in the days of genetic pollution. It is indeed a very brave organic producer who makes such unequivocal claims. Over the last year the Advertising Standards Authority has taken a keen interest in the claims being made for organic products while many more government agencies are taking a closer look at claims and fact.

HBW packaging should only be skin deep.

As with all marketing messages, knowing your audience is critical in the HBW aisle. And according to the same Nielsen study mentioned previously, consumers are looking for familiarity and clarity.

Terms like “retinol” and “collagen” were recognizable and preferred over uber-scientific-sounding terminology like “hexinol technology.” Additionally, consumers responded positively to product packages that include number combinations with product names, such as “3-in-1” moisturizer.

Consumers also report being attracted to packages that clearly include specific benefit-touting phrases like “improves the look of fine lines.” Anti-aging brands with strong sales numbers feature product packaging that tells consumers how quickly they can expect results, such as “instant eye smoother” or “reduces crow’s feet in two weeks.”

The formula for success is simple.

Keep the text simple and easy to understand when telling your story about how your product is natural or organic. Consumers don’t want, nor have time, to look up technical terms while they are shopping for what they need. Googling terminology on a phone and finding names they don’t understand slows down the shopping experience. CPG companies will lose as a result, and so will the retailer.

For men, “all natural” and “sensitive skin” claims are among the top five that they find most important. For women, “non-comedogenic” (does not clog pores) and “anti-aging” are beauty attributes unique to their top five most important according to Nielsen.

If there’s an aisle in the store, other than the perimeter where food is merchandised as fresh and healthy, the phrase “it’s what’s inside that counts” is most true in the center of the store. Key ingredient clarification drives consumption for health and wellness products, and knowing which ingredients to promote on the packaging is critical. Given the small labels on most beauty products, getting it right and using easily understandable language is salient to increasing sales.

The bottom line.

Consumer demand for healthier, environmentally conscious products has spurred the growth of the natural and organic sector. Notably, products with health-related labels have experienced long-trending positive growth rates over the past five years. Purveyors have embraced transparent labeling as a means of publicizing the health benefits of their products.

The high demand for natural and organic food and nonfoods has certainly resulted in alternative, costlier production methods, and consumers bear those costs inside all retail channels. Most notably in specialty stores. Nevertheless, the relatively expensive nature of organic hasn’t lessened demand for the goods. Furthermore, high sales and growth rates clearly illustrate the financial benefits of health labeling.

With this in mind, rules on health related labeling continue to be challenged to meet standard requirements, and many more suppliers will need to reign-in their claims and tighten up their manufacturing process as the most progressive consumer demands it (and some are willing to go to court over the issue).

Go deeper. Learn more…

Click on the video link above to reveal insights about how, and why, natural and organic products matter to every consumer who is seeking to achieve their personal health and wellness goals.

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