Americans Look to 3rd-Party Certifications to Align Purchases with Their Values

Washington, DC—Fairtrade America, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and the Non-GMO Project co-hosted an in-person educational panel at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim. The talk, titled, “Little Labels, Big Impact: How Certifications Can Increase Sales and Protect People and the Planet,” was facilitated by RangeMe and discussed market research and insights into why consumers prefer products that carry certification labels, which serve as shortcuts to sustainability, accountability, and trust.

Some findings from independent research and strategy consultancy GlobeScan:

  • 30% of consumers says they are planning to live more healthily and sustainably when imagining a post-pandemic future.
  • 49% of consumers are highly interested in hearing more stories about the farmers that grow the ingredients in their products.
  • 65% of Americans believe supermarkets should remove all unsustainable fish and seafood products from their shelves.

The experts noted that third-party certifications an effective ways to quickly communicate to shoppers that products are healthy, climate-friendly, and produced responsibly. Data presented by the panel to back that up:

  • More than 80% of consumers want companies to use labels on products to communicate their responsible sourcing practices.
  • 78% of consumers are willing to pay a premium for a product with a certification.
  • 85% of consumers trust independent, third-party certification organizations to very product claims.
  • In 2021, 41% of U.S. shoppers recognized the Fairtrade International Mark.
  • 73% of MSC-aware consumers said they trust MSC claims. 
  • 54% of North American consumers recognize Non-GMO Project verification, and 88% of those consumers are willing to pay a premium of up to 15% for Non-GMO Verified Products.

The three organizations shared that, as brands continue to navigate challenging supply chains and increasing consumer demands for sustainable offerings, they can offer data and services that benefit companies and consumers alike. Peg Willingham, Executive Director of Fairtrade America, noted, “It’s important that organizations like ours continue to help companies operate ethically and sustainably and communicate that effort to consumers who are making quick decisions in grocery stores and online.”

Related: 3 Must-Dos for 2022
Trust Collision Imminent as Signals Differ for Retailers and Consumers
The Case for Third-Party Testing & Certifications for the CBD Industry