Consumer packaged goods brands have to work with limited packaging space— especially in the case of smaller single-serve products like candy or snacks. A significant amount of information, from nutrition facts and ingredients to weight and origin, must be communicated in English and French to consumers. Brand management teams put significant time and thought into making the layout and design impactful and clear. Two impending packaging mandates— one set by Québec’s National Assembly, which requires French translations of non-registered English trademarks or generic terms within trademarks, and a nutrition symbol mandate from Health Canada, which requires warning labels on foods high in sodium, sugar, or saturated fats— have the potential to cause headaches for brand teams at the least or impact consumer behaviour at most.
Brands and retailers concerned about the impact of packaging mandates on consumer behaviour can turn to consumers themselves for insights. A preliminary look at the psychographic data Numerator collects on Canadian consumers, which is tied to their verified shopping behaviour, shows that Quebec shoppers are less likely to review nutrition labels (by -10.8%), but more likely to watch their diet (by 3.2%), while Ontario consumers are more likely to review nutrition labels (by 2.6%), but are less likely to watch their diet (-2.8%) or weight (-2.2%). Metro shoppers that live in Ontario are more likely to do all three: check nutrition labels (6.3%), watch their weight (3.1%), and watch their diet (5.3%).
Brands and retailers that partner with Numerator are uniquely able to survey consumers based on verified shopping behaviour. We can quickly deploy tailored surveys, guided by our expert research team, to verified brand or category shoppers or key buyer groups to help brand owners make the best possible brand identity and packaging decisions for sustainable growth.
How can brands and retailers prepare for Health Canada’s nutrition symbol mandate?
There are a number of steps brands and retailers can take to prepare for Health Canada’s nutrition symbol mandate. Here are five things that brands can do to mitigate risk with consumers:
- Know your relative risk. Profile your loyal shoppers— or break them out by segment for more granular insights— to understand whether they currently review nutritional labels, or manage their weight or diet. Understand if they manage health conditions that require more attention to nutrition information. Doing so can help you begin to anticipate consumer responses to new warnings and if those responses will impact your bottom line.
- Deeply understand consumer attitudes, preferences, and opinions. Survey your consumers to determine if consumer perception of products and categories will change based on the nutritional callout. Understand if consumers are aware of the nutritional content of products they purchase in the first place.
- Target key consumer groups. Identify opportunities to grow with distinct consumer groups, like Gen Z consumers, high-income households, or heavy category buyers, by testing packaging options with these groups. Understand if packaging changes could encourage switching from competitive brands.
- Incorporate consumer feedback. Compare how different packaging options will impact purchase intent among verified buyers to help guide your strategies. Select the packaging option that mitigates risk, or identify if options increase consumers’ likelihood to buy.
- Track pre and post-packaging change behaviours. Brands who keep a pulse on their performance post-packaging change with key consumer segments will put themselves in the best position to understand and adjust their strategies ahead of competitors.
How can brands and retailers prepare for Bill 96?
Brands and retailers can also leverage consumer-sourced data to make strategic branding decisions. Here are five things that brands can do to build branding strategies and reinforce brand identity, especially in light of reduced packaging real estate:
- Leverage feedback from verified Quebecois consumers. Numerator collects detailed demographic information for all of our panelists, enabling us to reduce the number of screening questions and further target your preferred consumers, including verified buyers of brands and categories that reside in Québec.
- Target key consumer groups. Identify opportunities to grow with distinct consumer groups, like Gen Z consumers, high-income households, or heavy category buyers, by testing packaging options with these groups. Understand their sense of your brand identity and how branding decisions might resonate before getting into the nitty gritty of packaging optimization.
- Anticipate the impact on brand perception and ‘findability’ on shelf. Ground your strategies in a deep understanding of how consumers currently perceive your brand(s) with both qualitative and quantitative surveys. Identify your consumer’s path-to-purchase to maintain ‘findability’ on shelf.
- Test packaging changes with verified consumers. Determine which French translations resonate with verified Quebecois brand buyers. Understand the preferences and opinions of heavy category buyers.
- Track pre and post-packaging change behaviours. Brands who keep a pulse on their performance post-branding and packaging changes with key consumer segments will put themselves in the best position to understand and adjust their strategies ahead of competitors.
Mitigate the impact on your brand with Numerator
While all packaging changes will involve an element of uncertainty around the impact on consumer sentiment and behaviour, preparation and ongoing monitoring is the best way for Canadian business owners to minimize risk. Numerator is here to help, with verified buyer surveys, promotional intelligence, consumer behavior tracking, and brand-level insights. Our expert research teams leverage industry standard methodologies, including monadic and sequential monadic testing, max diff, qualitative work, and more. Start the conversation with your Numerator representative or reach out to our team to learn more. Subscribe below for ongoing insights into the latest consumer trends, including any future work focused on the impact of packaging mandates on consumer behaviour.