A survey conducted jointly by GS1 Australia
and RMIT University reveals that a majority of Australian consumers choose to trust printed labels over smartphones and the Internet for product information.
The consumer survey provides insights into specific information that consumers look for when shopping for food products and the channels they trust to deliver this information.
An interesting finding is that traditional printed materials are consistently the most trusted medium for general product information with 64% respondents trusting printed labels and 54% choosing printed brochures and fact sheets, compared to 37% who depend on the Internet sources, and just 16% on other electronic sources including social media and smartphone applications. Mobile text messaging services were the least trusted media at 9%.
The survey also reveals 80% of respondents trust printed food labels more than smartphone apps, and 79% trust printed food labels more than the Internet.
Respondents also indicated social media as the least trusted sources for product information (11%), while health professionals, scientists, government health and regulatory bodies and health-related associations were the most trusted sources (80-83%). Food manufacturers and family and friends came out equal at 52%.
In terms of importance of information, 70% chose nutritional information as the most relevant followed by the list of ingredients (66%) and trusted brand (65%).
Professor Caroline Chan, who led the research team from RMIT School of Business IT and Logistics, said the results provide the food industry with valuable insights into what consumers are looking for when it comes to printed labels and other channels such as mobile apps. For instance, while consumers are comfortable using electronic technology for routine tasks, they do not currently trust it as a key media channel of food product information.
Steven Pereira, GS1 Australia’s Chief Information Officer explains that brand owners need to understand the specific information sought by consumers, and the best way to deliver this via channels they will use and trust.
With printed food labels being the primary deliverer of food product information for a long time, the challenge is to develop credible and reliable electronic sources that can provide a wide range of detailed information about food, which will be trusted by consumers.
According to Pereira, GS1 Australia will soon release its GS1 GoScan iPhone application for consumers. An industry-endorsed iPhone application, the GS1 GoScan will provide detailed extended labelling product data to consumers, accurately and in real time delivering information directly from the brand owners to the consumers.
The app enables consumers to scan the bar code on a product and receive comprehensive product data, including allergen information, ingredient lists, nutritional content, daily intake information, dietary information, preparation, usage and storage instructions, country of origin as well as product descriptions and images.
The full survey report can be viewed on the GS1 Australia website.