SmartLabel™: Product Information at Consumers’ fingertips

SmartLabel: Product Information at Consumers’ fingertips

SmartLabel™ is positioned to change the way we evaluate and consume products every day. That is a bold statement backed by consumers, manufacturers and US Government regulatory agencies as each have a stake in making this initiative a reality.

What is SmartLabel?

SmartLabel™ is a tool designed for consumers to digitally access detailed product information from a package label or the Web. Consumers today expect to be able to view information at all times and locations and as a result, SmartLabel™ offers product information transparency – accessible by a computer, smartphone or tablet. With the click of a URL or a QR code scan, consumers can now find out what their products are made of, how they were produced, country of origin, genetically modified organisms (GMO) inclusion and how products fit into their lifestyle. The SmartLabel™ generates a vast amount of information that goes beyond what a consumer sees on a product label. Examples include ingredients, nutritional information, usage instructions, safe handling instructions, company/brand information, social compliance, and third-party certifications. For consumers that require federal agency information such as requirements by the FDA, USDA, and FTC, SmartLabel™ does not oversee this important data and encourages companies to include this information.

Jointly created by groups formed by the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the TPA (Trading Partner Alliance of the Food Marketing Institute) in 2015, a growing number of companies are adopting this industry changing tool. SmartLabel™ makes it easier than ever for consumers to find product information for goods that they use and consume on a daily basis and verify information on GMO’s, allergens, nutrients and other product details. There are 59 mandatory and 189 voluntary attributes associated with each item.

“It’s important to know that SmartLabel™ does not replace the package label; it is an extension of the label. SmartLabel™ can be updated in real-time and without having to tackle limitations presented by size, shape or standards. It is a modern way for companies to provide the additional information consumers seek building on the information already available on packaging. Ultimately, SmartLabel™ helps consumers make more informed choices about what they purchase.”
-Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association

Embraced by food manufacturers, large and small

As of mid-July 2016, the SmartLabel™ database contained information ranging from major players like Hershey and Campbell’s, to smaller companies like Naked Bacon and Food For Life. Here is an example of Hershey’s Milk Chocolates SmartLabel™ and the information a consumer can review: http://SmartLabel.hersheys.com/034000120864-0001#nutrition. These details can be found both via product interaction or via the company website.

Recently, President Obama signed a bill that would require most food packages to label, via text or symbol, to indicate whether food contains GMOs. As consumer expectations drive change, governments are globally increasing food label requirements. The European Union 1169 (EU1169) law would be an example. This regulation has helped brands inform their consumers about the nutritional value, quality, and ingredients of their products. The EU1169 replaced both the nutrition labelling directive (90/496/EEC) and the food labeling directive (2000/13/EC). EU1169 went into effect in December of 2014 with the directive stating that minimum information must be provided via the Web such as net quantity, lists of ingredients, and ‘use by’ date. View all regulations pertaining to the EU1169.

Failing to provide full transparency of product information means the potential of audits and fines for companies out of compliance. While this potentially may mean increasing time-to-market for products as they get filtered through inspection, it also guarantees that customers are able to make high level decisions as to whether a product fits their personal standards or not.

Efficient product information management is the key

Before implementing SmartLabel™, it is crucial that brands are able to efficiently manage their product information. Brands have hundreds, sometimes thousands, of attributes that need a home including supply chain, nutritional, allergen and digital assets. LANSA has been enabling organizations to manage these via a centralized Product Information Management system: LANSA Data Sync Direct. Many of the world’s largest CPG companies are leveraging this tool to aggregate item information in a centralized location to safely and accurately store for distribution to internal users, trading partners, and consumers.

LANSA is already seeing tremendous interest within our user community as companies start to investigate and roll out Smart Labels for consumer transparency. It is important, now more than ever, that customers have access to the validated product information in a consistent manner from a single source. These details may reside in ERP, PLM, formulary solution, spreadsheets and/or within packaging design solution including LANSA partner Blue Software. To manage the initial population and ongoing changes to products, it is essential to have a common platform to receive real time updates and integration with all source systems.

After aggregating and validating the attribute details, there are several ways to distribute SmartLabel™ landing pages: options include self-publication or partnering with LANSA partner Label Insight to leverage industry best practices and whose solution integrates with LANSA Data Sync Direct.  This partnered approach provides manufactures an end-to-end strategy to manage both product details and the SmartLabel™ lifecycle.

Annette Vacval

Author: Annette Vacval

Annette has been working with LANSA since 2015. Since joining LANSA, Annette has been an active member of the LANSA Data Sync Direct Services Delivery team. She has provided remote and on-site consulting services for the implementation of LANSA Data Sync Direct. She has expertise in managing and delivering the project tasks associated with implementation activities, such as software configuration, workflow configuration, testing and acceptance of configured system, loading & validation of production data.

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