In this context, in which the new Official Labeling Standard obliges brands to clearly display information on the content that can harm health on their packaging, many consumers begin to feel terrified every time they go to the supermarket. And they don’t! it’s for less! Seeing the shelves full of black octagons that warn you that several of the products you usually consume are not even remotely as healthy as you thought, it is scary. Now, many are realizing the sheer amount of fat, sodium, sugar, and other junk they’ve been unknowingly eating for years.
According to a perception analysis carried out by the civil association El Poder del Consumidor (https://elpoderdelconsumidor.org/), it is defined that in Mexico 94% of consumers are in favor of food and beverages containing warning labels to the front of their packaging; however, in relation to their consumption, there are very few who indicate that they are going to stop buying certain products that carry them, we will see if this data changes in the following months; Surely they will have had to see a large number of “memes” about it on social networks… it is well said that “we are what we eat” and statistics indicate that Sonora is no exception.
Undoubtedly, the new legislation provides more information to people to know what they buy to eat, which is extremely important given the alarming rates of obesity and other diseases suffered by the Mexican population, and which has therefore been so vulnerable for these pandemic times. The expectation is that this standard influences the purchasing decision of consumers; however, for brands it is representing a real challenge.
Then comes the question, how do we help brands in this regulatory framework where they are more limited to give their image on the packaging? I think the answer is undoubtedly the same as for many other questions in marketing tasks: WITH CREATIVITY. And it is that before this panorama what is actually being regulated is the form, not the substance; and it is in the background where brands must work. It is not just a matter of placing seals on all their packages, but ensuring that their products are reformulated by reducing unwanted nutrient content, offering more suitable options for their consumers and managing the creative use of packaging. Fortunately, many companies are already working on it; those who do not, have a very uncertain future in the medium term in their survival.
We should understand that this policy is intended to encourage a change in both consumers and brands, and that it is not just about forcing companies to abide by regulations, but about renewing themselves by improving their products, changing the direction of their communication to achieve a better perception, not losing consumers and of course, seeking better health for everyone.
Guadalupe Zúñiga Elizalde is managing partner of Digitocreativo Publicidad SC and president of the Sonoran Advertising Association AC (Aspac).