Lemon Perfect: Expanding Market Distribution with Transparency Focus
More than ever, consumers around the country and the world are demanding greater access to information regarding the ingredients used in the foods that they eat and the beverages that they drink. As the obesity, coronary heart disease, and diabetes epidemics continue to affect millions of people across the country, people are urgently searching for healthier food options as part of a livelihoods more focused on holistic wellness. As part of this tendency towards healthier livelihoods, people are paying much closer attention to the fine print of nutritional labels and ingredient lists.
Unfortunately, many of the large, multinational conglomerates that have dominated the industrial food system for decades are attempting to manipulate this consumer demand for healthier food and beverage products. For example, the company Nesquik recently got into trouble with regulating authorities after advertising for their chocolate milk product claimed the product was nutritious, had 45 percent less sugar, and offered seven essential vitamins and minerals. Authorities deemed that the 20.2 grams of sugar in the chocolate milk product didn’t exactly live up to these “nutritious” claims.
After years of being bombarded by false or misleading advertisements, millions of consumers are demanding more transparency from the companies that they choose to support. With the advent of social media and internet-based advertising, developing brand loyalty requires much more than a catchy slogan, attractive logos, and pouring millions of dollars into TV and radio commercials.
Lemon Perfect, a company founded in 2017 by Yanni Hufnagel, knows the fundamental importance of brand loyalty. Developing an ethic of company transparency has allowed the brand to quickly build up an impressive customer base and expand their operations around the country.
Who is Lemon Perfect?
The average American drinks almost 45 gallons of soda every year. To put that into perspective, that is equal to 487 twelve-ounce cans, or 85 bottles of two liters each year. Not only is that a lot of money poured into carbonated syrups, but it is also an enormous amount of sugar and calories that contribute directly to diabetes, obesity, and heart disease problems affecting public health. While people could replace their soft drink fix with healthier fruit juices and smoothies that only require a blender or juicer, the fact of the matter is that most people feel that they simply don’t have the time.
Within the functional beverage industry, then, there is an enormous need for healthier, natural, and low-carbohydrate items that can be quickly and easily purchased by consumers who spend long hours away from home and seek a healthier alternative than their mid-day Coca Cola.
Lemon Perfect´s mission is to “democratize drinkable wellness” through offering healthier, natural beverage products to as many people as possible. While the company originally started in southern California, it has since expanded throughout North America. In just three years, the company has expanded beyond its California roots, mostly through its distribution with Whole Foods Market. In the past months, Lemon Perfect has announced expanded distribution into Arizona, Southern California, and Southern Nevada, the Rocky Mountain region, and the Northeast through Whole Foods Market. Hufnagel says that “we are honored to continue building our relationship with such an iconic retailer like Whole Foods Market, especially in our home market (southern California)…Whole Foods has long been an incubator for disruptive, emerging brands that deliver on consumers’ desire for great-tasting yet healthy options, and Lemon Perfect provides both.”
The Importance of Transparency
A recent study released by Label Insight, a company that specializes in product data, analyzes the vast importance of transparency in building brand awareness and brand loyalty. While ingredients are certainly important to consumers choosing between different food and beverage products, the study finds that consumers are also interested in where materials are sourced, the manufacturing process, the values and ethics behind the company, and how the business relates to other social and environmental factors.
Access to this information is an increasingly relevant part of the consumer decisions we make. The Label Insight study finds that 56 percent of consumers believe that additional product information increases the level of trust they feel towards a given brand. Furthermore, when consumers find brands that transparently share information regarding their product and the manufacturing process, almost three out of every four people would be willing to pay more for a product that offers complete transparency.
In an increasingly competitive global marketplace, building brand loyalty should be a fundamental strategy for every type of business. The study went on to find that 94 percent of all consumers were much more likely to be loyal to a brand when it committed to full transparency regarding their products and operations. While this level of transparency will certainly imply some upfront costs, the opportunity to develop deeper connections and loyalty with a larger customer base brings its own financial rewards.
Lemon Perfect commitment to transparency
In the specific case of Lemon Perfect, the company has made a commitment to only purchasing certified organic lemons that are sourced locally in California and hand-picked. During the manufacturing process, the company uses cold, high-pressure processing (never heat) to naturally and deliciously maintain the hydrating superfruit benefits of freshly squeezed lemons. Their beverage products have zero sugar and only five calories. Furthermore, the company offers other natural beverages from other superfood fruits, including Blueberry Acai, Dragon fruit Mango, and Peach Raspberry.
The company has spent time and invested in resources in receiving numerous certifications that further their goal of full transparency. Currently, Lemon Perfect has received the following certifications:
• USDA Certified Organic
• High Pressure Certified (no heat processing)
• Non-GMO Certified
• Certified Vegan
• Certified Gluten-Free
• 1% For the Planet
• Keto Certified
In a recent editorial written for Business Times, Hufnagel writes:
“The era of transparency is upon us. Customers want to know the full breakdown of ingredients in the products they purchase, the sustainability and ethics of the manufacturing process, and what standards and certifications the products meet. Employees want to know the thought process behind managers’ key business decisions, how those decisions will impact them directly, and what role they play in the company’s success.”
The skyrocketing success of Lemon Perfect
The quick growth and expansion of Lemon Perfect from a small town niche beverage sold in southern California to a well-recognized product sold on the shelves of Whole Foods Markets from coast to coast is testament to the importance of this ethic of transparency. Not only are the Lemon Perfect beverage products filling a void in the market for people wanting healthier and more natural alternatives to soft drinks, but they are also redefining the ways in which people relate to the brands they choose to support.
Whereas the vast majority Pepsi consumers couldn’t tell you the ingredients used in the product, where the sugar was sourced from, or how the can in their hand was manufactured, consumers of Lemon Perfect beverage products are much more likely to know the environmental and social commitments made by the company. By making known their commitment to “democratize drinkable wellness,” Lemon Perfect has made it a priority to communicate to consumers the business decisions they make. Decisions related to where ingredients are sourced, how to price the product, committing to the best environmental practices, and how to reinvest profit goes beyond the purpose of maximizing shareholder benefit.
Rather, the company is sincerely interested in letting their customers and employees know immediately what drives the company’s decision-making. Hufnagel says that he wants Lemon Perfect consumers to “be proud to support that mission through purchasing or employment, feeling united by a call to action that is part of something bigger.” He believes that “as consumers have become more aware of the direct impact of unmanaged environmental damage caused by some manufacturers, savvy customers have become to support companies that take a proactive and environmentally friendly approach to manufacturing.”
Why the Health and Wellness industry should opt for transparency
For startups and other entrepreneurial endeavors looking to find a niche in the market and establish a foothold in the growing, but competitive health and wellness food industry, committing wholeheartedly to the ethic of transparency from the outset offers numerous advantages. Opting for organically grown and regeneratively raised raw materials will certainly present higher manufacturing costs upfront. However, transparently showing your commitment to healthier food products, even at an increased cost, offers the opportunity to connect with the growing consumer population that is actively demanding greater transparency around the issue of healthier food products.
Similarly, cutting costs during manufacturing might be tempting when finances are limited. However, opting for the healthiest and most environmentally-friendly manufacturing process offers yet another opportunity to deepen your relationship and connection with environmentally and socially conscious consumers.
Lastly, it is worth mentioning that companies that commit to the ethic of full transparency also benefit from a more motivated workforce. When your employees can identify with the mission of the brand, productivity and creativity levels soar, helping to improve your bottom line while also enhancing a healthy workplace culture and environment.