Strategic Line Break on an Ingredient Label: Fair or Misleading?
My co-worker is obsessed with coconut water. He reads labels carefully and only drinks the kind that’s not from concentrate. So when we all went to lunch the other day, he picked up this new brand of coconut water to give it a shot.
It was only until after disliking the taste that he studied the label more closely and found, to his horror…
…that this coconut water was, in fact, from concentrate.
Now I have to say, the line break here is awfully convenient.
100% Organic Coconut
Water from concentrate, natural flavors
Sure, it might be a coincidence, but it was enough to get my co-worker to buy the drink even after specifically reading the label.
So imagine all the people who just take a quick look at the bottle, maybe check to make sure that the calories seem reasonable, and pop it into their shopping carts.
The brand definitely prioritizes messaging by putting the organic benefit front-and-center, which is a good idea. If you are paying more to source organic coconuts, you should make sure customers know it and pay a premium. The USDA Organic icon and the product name of “Pure Organic Coconut Water” both reinforce the organic messaging, as does the way the ingredient is listed.
So the company would probably say that they’re selling point is organic, not that they aren’t from concentrate. Plus, what’s “water from concentrate” anyway? Clearly they meant “coconut water from concentrate." Maybe that’s true.
Most customers wouldn’t scrutinize the label this carefully anyway, so the labeling decision makes sense from a business perspective. But this is definitely one of those gray areas that marketers have to deal with. Do you go out of your way to be clear with the customer? Or do you assume that they’ll understand because technically you are truthful?
Do you think that the brand should fix the line break so that it’s obvious that their product is from concentrate?