Web-savvy consumers demand transparency

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Web-savvy consumers demand transparency

Blind faith in brands diminishing.

The rise of the web has given savvy consumers more knowledge about the products they buy and consequently diminished their faith in branded goods.

These are the conclusions of two pieces of research from IBM, one of which charts the demise of packed goods brands and the other the rise of the so-called 'omni consumer'. 

Consumer companies need to provide more information on the origins and impacts of their products, concludes the report.

Product contaminations and recalls, coupled with confusion over marketing claims, have contributed to an erosion of consumer trust in consumer product manufacturers, according to the survey of 1,676 consumers in the US and UK.

Nearly 70 percent of consumers expressed a low overall level of trust in the claims branded food products make about their environmental impact and health benefits.

Almost half of consumers are more concerned about safety, and nearly two in five buy different brands today because of these concerns.

A majority of consumers revealed that the level of information consumer products companies provide on the contents, origins and environmental impact of their products greatly affects their level of trust in those companies.

Nearly 60 percent of respondents also said they have more knowledge about the contents of the food they buy now versus two years ago.

But, despite this increased awareness, 72 percent now want even more information about the source, production methods and contents of the packaged food products they buy.

In the second study, Establishing Trust through Traceability, IBM identified the new 'omni-consumer' who is driving this shift.

The picture is of a growing army of consumers who are concerned, empowered and more connected than ever with sophisticated technology at their disposal.

According to this study, the omni-consumer is purchasing a wider range of products and is actively and frequently tuning in and out of unwanted marketing messages.

The study suggests that companies align 'Full Value Traceability' with their brand vision to set themselves apart from the pack.

These new systems can safeguard the food supply and enable the trust and transparency necessary to instil consumer confidence and, in turn, protect and empower individual companies' brands.

The linkage of the physical and information supply chain, coupled with engaging all the relevant stakeholders, is an imperative in building a 'Full Value Traceability' system.

"The era of the omni-consumer is requiring a deeper commitment to transparency, and the companies that deliver on this will be the clear winners, " said Tom Peterson, general manager of IBM's consumer products division.
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