Spend just a few minutes perusing the documentary section on Netflix and one thing becomes apparent: We're in the midst of a huge consumer push for transparency. From the "behind-the-scenes" restaurant reality shows to the way aquariums treat orcas, people crave the truth—even (and sometimes especially) when it's ugly.
But the desire for food industry transparency is about more than raw curiosity. Here are a few reasons why your restaurant patrons care more than ever, and how you can deliver.
They've been deceived before
After years of exposés unearthing less-than-pleasant practices within the food industry, knowing what goes into food is something consumers demand. From the grotesque "pink slime"videos to food label DNA tests with disturbing results, people have had enough of being duped. Consumers want to know what's really in the food they're purchasing and feeding their families. And they're more likely to pledge loyalty to brands that they can trust.
Info is everywhere
With just a few taps of a screen, consumers can learn nearly anything they'd ever want to know. And if your brand has ever been under fire for false information, low-quality ingredients or a major recall, they know. And with in-store mobile search on the rise, you'd better believe customers are researching your brand while inside your establishment. Instead of trying to fight this information freefall, offer consumers the information they want and visibility into your supply chain.
They expect it
From allergens, food trends and special diets to religious and lifestyle choices, dietary restrictions are a norm in our society. And brands have finally become in-tune with the needs of these consumers. A little green "V"on a menu item or food packaging will delight vegetarian customers, much like the tiny "GF"shows gluten-intolerant consumers you're looking out. Consumers today have a choice, and those with dietary restrictions will always prefer brands that take an extra moment to cater to their needs.
You can offer it
There are many ways you can link customers with the information they crave, including:
- Offering transparency into your supply chain, such as naming the specific farms where you sourced your meat or produce.
- Making information easy to find through your website or app.
- Clearly listing all ingredients, especially common allergens and animal products.
- Communicating mislabeling, contamination or recalls openly and honestly.
- Publishing the specifics of your food safety program.
By making it easier for your customers to obtain the information they want, you can foster stronger, more authentic relationships, build brand loyalty and gain an edge over your competitors.