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Consumers skeptical of product claims says IBM survey


Recent product contaminations and recalls, along with confusion over marketing claims, have eroded shoppers’ trust in consumer product manufacturers, says an IBM survey.

The survey of almost 1,700 U.S. and U.K. shoppers found that nearly 70 percent hold a low overall level of trust in the claims that “branded food products” make about their environmental impact and health benefits. Almost half of consumers are more concerned about safety than previously, and nearly two of every five consumers said they buy different brands today because of these concerns.

Almost 60 percent of respondents said they know more now about the contents of the food they buy than they did two years ago. Still, 72 percent now want even more information about the source, the production methods and the contents of the packaged food products they buy.

In a complementary study, IBM identified a new breed of shopper -- the “Omni Consumer” -- that is driving this shift. These consumers are more concerned, watchful and connected than ever.

“While product, packaging and branding are still key, their significance has been topped by a number of other factors,” said Bill Gilmour, Global Consumer Products Lead, IBM Global Business Services. “The Omni Consumer wants products that deliver incremental health and wellness benefits coupled with an understanding of the impact of these products on individuals, society and the environment.”

As a response to those concerns, IBM suggests that companies set themselves apart by adopting “Full Value Traceability” as part of their brand.

“To date, most traceability investments have been driven by regulation,” said Tom Peterson, General Manager, IBM Consumer Products Industry. “We’re recommending our clients expand these initiatives beyond a defensive posture and leverage them for brand empowerment. The era of the Omni Consumer is requiring a deeper commitment to transparency, and the companies who deliver on this will be the clear winners.”


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