Socially conscious shoppers expect new levels of transparency from brands 


Socially conscious shoppers expect new levels of transparency from brands 

The “conscious shoppers” of 2022 want to choose products and support brands that are good for them, good for their neighbors, and good for the planet.  Which means it’s time for manufacturers and retailers to update their definitions of product transparency.

Health, wellness, and sustainability are synonymous

Sustainability is a growing concern for the majority of U.S. shoppers.

  • 60% of U.S. consumers said they have been making more environmentally friendly, sustainable, or ethical purchases since the start of the pandemic.
  • 66% agreed that environmental issues are having an adverse impact on their current and future health. 

These numbers track with consumers’ expanding definition of overall wellness, where personal health and sustainability characteristics go hand in hand. The same consumer that pays close attention to products that are allergen free or adhere to specialty diets is also wants to know if a product complies with sustainability practices or social responsibility programs.

As the scope of “health and wellness” continues to grow, consumers will have higher expectations for manufacturers and retailers when it comes to product transparency.

“Mindful consumption” is a consumer mindset defined by specific, complementary product attributes. Customers might look for snacks with plant-based ingredients, supplements that cater to well-being, and beauty products that are plastic-free, all in the same shopping trip. 

Manufacturers usually consider these characteristics to be distinct from one another and related to different products, but consumers don’t see it that way.  

Food brands in particular are taking note of these overlapping characteristics. Dairy manufacturer Maple Hill Creamery uses regenerative farming practices to produce its range of organic, grass-fed products. Clif Bar’s portfolio of snacks are high-protein, low-calorie, and low-sugar. The brand primarily uses sustainably, ethically sourced organic ingredients.

Clear the path for conscious shoppers  

Omnichannel shopping is the clear way forward for CPG brands, and well-being brands are no exception. According to recent NielsenIQ data, 79% of all CPG buyers now make purchases both online and in-store. Browsing online gives shoppers the ability to research a product’s ingredients, materials, and reviews, and compare items across different brands and retailers.  

Brands and retailers can take advantage of the inherent benefits of e-commerce and omnichannel shopping experiences by explicitly stating health and sustainability-related claims on packaging, websites, and social media pages. But before you can plan, execute, and communicate a healthy, sustainable brand vision, you need to get to know your audience.

Young Gen Z and Millennial consumers are the main drivers of the sustainability movement and they’re doing it primarily online. But consumers also want an elevated buying experience when they choose to shop in-store, and they want it to be simple to find products that align with their personal values from brands that they trust.  

How to learn more  

To learn how you can leverage this confluence of trends and gain market share, download NielsenIQ’s latest research report in conjunction with the Food Industry Association, Transparency in an Evolving Omnichannel World.

You’ll get a closer look at shopper behaviors and attitudes towards transparency across the omnichannel landscape, and learn how their perspectives on transparency and buying experiences differ when shopping online versus in physical stores.