This guest post comes from Kelly Thompson Kell, North American Market Strategy Director for Trace One.
Conscious consumers are revamping grocery retail by demanding responsible products they can feel good about buying. In response, grocery retailers and consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies are considering ethics, labor, social and environmental factors when they procure products and raw materials.
Consumer demands have led to the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Law, which will create a national mandatory system for disclosing the presence of bioengineered material. This law intends to increase consumer confidence, and reduce risk for food companies and farmers.
Today, more suppliers adhere to higher standards, including industry certification. For instance, Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) recognized certification such as the BRC Global Standards and the Rainforest Alliance seal of approval which ensures sustainable business practices for food including coffee and bananas.
To source responsibly, retail companies are committing to:
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): Products reflect fair trade and sustainable practices, reducing carbon footprints and using recycled packaging.
Health, wellness, and organics: For healthier food options, companies are developing private brand products containing less salt, sugar, fat and palm oil.
Traceability: For safety and authenticity, retailers openly communicate with suppliers to know exactly where their products come from.
Responsible sourcing is a global trend. The UK’s Waitrose ensures all its canned tuna is either certified or pole and line caught. Germany’s Aldi Süd won an award for excellence in responsible sourcing and Whole Foods Market’s Responsibly Grown sourcing program rewards farmers by purchasing first from those who grow using sustainable practices.
As such, responsible sourcing of private brands can differentiate retailers and give them a competitive advantage through feel-good products, which boost sales, trust and loyalty.
To source responsibly, more retail experts are using collaborative retail business networks and meeting peers at industry events, to discover best practices and reliable partners who can delight today’s conscious consumers.
Kelly Thompson Kell
North American Market Strategy Director, Trace One
Kelly is a thought leader in the areas of food product development, grocery technology strategy and supplier-retailer collaboration. Her 13 years of internal consulting, strategy engagement, and project leadership within the technology, retail, and CPG industries allow her to bring first-hand experience to the table.
Given her involvement in private label grocery sourcing at Target Corporation and her background as a food scientist and business consultant at Nestle, Kelly sees a strong need to improve communication between grocers and suppliers during the product development process.