Food certifications can be the first impression your customers have of a product on your retailer’s shelves and can be a deciding factor if the item ends up in their cart. Product attributes, health claims, nutrient content claims, structure/function claims and food certifications are evolving with nutrition research, along with consumer interest. Many of the latest food certifications popularizing food packaging include those focused on sustainability. According to recent data from SPINS, 70% of shoppers will pay more for a sustainable product, and 88% of shoppers would like brands to help them be more eco-friendly and ethical.
Rainforest Alliance Certified
This seal signifies that the product was manufactured using methods that support social, economic and environmental sustainability. The Rainforest Alliance focuses primarily on protecting forests, climate, human rights and livelihoods, as reflected in the organization’s Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Standard.
B Corp Certified
This certification by B Lab goes beyond ingredients and products to address a company’s overall social and environmental performance. Companies complete a BIA (B Impact Assessment), are assessed through a legal requirement tool to determine how stakeholders may affect corporate governance, and then assessed by B Lab to determine whether they meet an 80-point bar for certification.
Non-GMO project verified
This is a third-party verification system for non-GMO (genetically modified organisms) foods and products. The Non-GMO Project is a nonprofit organization that seeks to increase transparency, education, and resources about BE (bioengineered) products to support informed consumer choice.
Fair trade certified
Fair Trade is a global movement that responsibly connects products with their producers. Fair Trade USA strives to empower and give a stronger voice to farmers and workers, as evidenced by the fact that it has reached more than 975,000 people in 63 countries in the past year, contributing to 846 million dollars in financial benefits provided to producers worldwide since 1999.
Vegan Action’s Certified Vegan mark indicates a guarantee that an item contains no animal products or by-products, and does not involve testing on animals. Vegan Action has certified over 10,000 products from 1,082 companies. Campaigns such as Veganuary, aimed at sparking a craze for animal-free dishes, are gaining momentum across the food landscape, as evidenced by the more than half a million participants who pledged to go vegan in January. 2021, and the record figures forecast for 2022.
The Plant-Based Foods Association (PBFA) and NSF International joined forces to launch the Plant-Based Certified Seal Program in 2018, which is the first and most recognized plant-based food certification. This designation allows up to 10% of the weight of the product formula to be non-vegan (but still vegan). This certification, along with Certified Vegan, is not only useful for those on a plant-centric diet, but also for flexitarians, or even those with allergies to milk, eggs, fish, or shellfish.
It is essential not only to become familiar with these food certifications, but also to assess the impact these symbols could have on the physical or virtual shopping experience of your customers. Bring your regulatory affairs team to the table with marketing and R&D to think about how to achieve these certifications for private labels, or encourage your store management teams to showcase trusted products that proudly display one or more of these certifications to draw attention to your retailer’s responsible product. offerings.