Many restaurants have been listing ingredients and calorie counts for years – we have listed the main ingredients for each smoothie on our menu at Smoothie King for several years. However, in May 2018, calorie menu labels are becoming mandatory for restaurants of a certain size and other food serving establishments like ice cream shops, smoothie bars and even places like the movie theater.
This push for transparency comes as no surprise. Food trends have been leaning toward better options as guests want to know exactly what they’re ordering and consuming.
The smoothie industry is particularly affected by this call for transparency. As a drink that’s widely seen as nutritious and used as a fitness tool, it’s especially important this industry leads the trend.
Distrust and Confusion
Consumers are often overloaded with inconsistent messaging. Terms like “natural” or “light” can be ambiguous and sometimes confusing to consumers. This inconsistency leads consumers to be confused at grocery stores and in restaurants, and it can lead to distrust for brands.
Consumers report confusion related to ingredients lists, and 38 percent say they are concerned about eating products that list ingredients they don’t recognize. This confusion leads consumers to avoid eating foods with ingredients they are not comfortable with, or it can negatively impact product satisfaction due to misinformation.
Food Allergy and Aversion
Roughly 15 million Americans have food allergies, some to major allergens like milk, tree nuts and shell fish. Food allergies are on the rise in both children and adults, according to a study in the Internal Medicine Journal. These allergies can be life threatening for some, so greater transparency for food ingredients is critical.
At the same time, new diet and weight loss trends are causing consumers to avoid certain ingredients. Gluten-free diets have gained traction, with only one-third of gluten-free eaters doing so for Celiac disease or other allergies.
Allergy and diet concerns make transparency an important part pleasing your guest base. By prioritizing full product transparency, brands have an opportunity to acquire new guests and, more importantly, keep them.
Smoothie King and Transparency
Smoothie King has consistently taken the necessary steps to meet the needs of guests looking for greater product transparency. Through the Cleaner Blending Initiative, we strive for not only transparency in our smoothie ingredients but also eliminating ingredients like hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup and, in 2018, working towards eliminating more ingredients, including artificial preservatives, as well as all added sugar from the more than 50 Purpose Blends on our menu. Additionally, there are more nutritious options for guests, including more whole fruit and vegetables. This allows guests to make the best choices for their nutritional needs and their lifestyle.
Offering guests blends that are vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free and low-fat appeals to a larger range of smoothie drinkers and offers a variety of nutritious options.
Transparency is key as consumer needs continue to shift. Giving guests the information needed to make the decision themselves can generate higher satisfaction and increase brand loyalty and trust.
If you’re interested in a smoothie brand committed to transparency and nutritious options, download our free Smoothie King Franchise Kit.