We are quickly approaching one of the trickiest days of the year when it comes to food allergens and preferences. At Halloween, one of the most frightening facts is that one in 13 children in the U.S. has a food allergy and the risk for exposure is significant. To help avoid a food data scare this season, we’ve compiled a list of the top safety tips and ideas for parents, neighbors, and CPGs.
Get Your Teal Pumpkin Ready
Ready for a scary statistic? An estimated 32 million Americans have food allergies, including 5.6 million children under age 18.*
Candy products frequently include ingredients like peanuts, tree nuts, milk, and egg, which are some of the most common food allergens in children – as well as those that may be less obvious for candy, such as gluten or certain fruits like strawberries. Parents and their children need to be aware of this potential danger, and check ingredients for all treats.
Why is this so tricky at Halloween? Because individual pieces often lack ingredients listed on their labels. Plus, the ingredients sometimes differ in fun-size product variants or in candies that are re-themed specifically for Halloween.
Using guidelines from the Teal Pumpkin Project® and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), let’s go over some tips and ideas you can put into practice this year.
Tips for Parents
- Double-check ingredient lists before all the festivities begin and create a list of “allergen-approved” candy that your child can safely eat. The manufacturers’ websites should have the most up-to-date and accurate ingredient details. You can also use apps like SmartLabel® or other online resources.
- Plan your Halloween route using the Teal Pumpkin Project Map, which shows which houses plan to provide non-food trinkets and toys to make the holiday inclusive for all trick-or-treaters. Look for teal pumpkins while you’re out and about!
- Inform teachers and other adults about your child’s food allergies, along with how to react in an emergency and where their medications are kept.
Ideas for Neighbors
According to NRF, 69 percent of survey respondents plan to hand out candy this year. If you’re in this group, consider the following ideas to help the cause:
- Plan to hand out non-edible treats, like glow sticks or bubbles, in a separate bowl. The Teal Pumpkin Project has a great list of suggestions here.
- Enter your address on the Map to help parents plan out where they’ll take their children on Halloween.
- Spread the word to get others in your area involved by posting a picture on social media of your teal pumpkin or porch/door sign, using the hashtag #tealpumpkinproject. You can get free printables here.
Advice for CPGs
The National Confectioners Association says 93 percent of children in the United States will go trick-or-treating, and the group estimates that Halloween candy sales this year will top $2.26 billion. Clearly CPGs face a big revenue opportunity at Halloween, but they also have the challenge to help keep things safe for everyone.
Here are a few tips you can put into practice each year:
- Avoid a data horror story.
Shoppers are paying close attention to what’s in the consumables they purchase, often going directly to the manufacturer to research products and ask questions. If your product information lacks transparency or accuracy, it could create a data horror story for your company.
CPGs should be the trusted source for detailed product information. You can turn to a PIM platform for CPGs to provide a central repository of reliable and enriched data. Data quality standards and rules, along with data governance, are critical to complying with regulations around food safety while providing consumers with transparent product details online and on packaging.
- Go direct to your consumers to inspire and build relationships.
Leveraging data to analyze how your customers prefer to shop can be difficult when the retailer owns the relationship, but consumers are increasingly pushing a direct-to-consumer model. This paves the way for CPGs to collect more high-quality data to achieve personalization at scale.
Being omnichannel-ready means telling a persuasive product story, providing content in context, and delivering the right product at the right place at the right time. (How do you accomplish this? Listen to this podcast for insight.)
- Leverage data to prep for the next big season.
According to Forbes, “In a data-driven world, where customer insights are becoming the foundation of seamless, personalized shopping experiences, CPG brands need to find ways to regain control over the customer relationship, their data and, ultimately, their destiny.”
How will you use this year’s data to plan for the next big season? As you analyze the data you gather, think about:
- Building the right product story, merchandising, and assortment to satisfy when, where, and how your customers prefer to shop,
- Ways to be more agile on price (PIM can help you do that, too),
- How you can inspire your customers using social media, personalized offers, and conversational commerce,
- What food and packaging regulations you need to prepare for,
- And, how to improve transparency around your products to meet evolving preferences.
Halloween means Christmas is right around the corner! Add reading this eBook to your preparation checklist: How to Maximize Your Holiday Sales with PIM.