During a recent family visit, my daughter remarked about how critical adhering to the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) principle made projects, well simpler. The acronym, originally coined by Lockheed Skunks Work lead engineer Kelly Johnson, was meant to illustrate the need to streamline the design of sophisticated jet planes whereby an average mechanic could use basic tools and make repairs in the field.


Bernie Pacyniak

The concept — more eloquently stated by the likes of (thank you, Wikipedia) Leonardo da Vinci "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication"; Mies Van Der Rohe "Less is more"; Antoine de Saint Exupéry "It seems that perfection is reached not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away" and Colin Chapman, the founder of Lotus Cars, "Simplify, and add lightness” — seems a rarity in today’s digitized world.

Occasionally, there are exceptions.

Today, The Hershey Company today announced it would introduce an “enhanced food labeling system to its U.S. product portfolio. In other words, the company will provide front-of-pack nutrition information “to make it simple and easy for consumers to make choices about the role of confections in their lifestyle.”

Plans call for Hershey to roll out front-of-pack nutrition information in the second half of 2013. The move will extend across its product line over the next several years. Hershey also will be updating its website to provide consumer-friendly access to nutrition information.

Of course, Hershey isn’t the first company to do so nor is it the only one. As the press release states, it “…along with members of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and National Confectioners Association (NCA) are voluntarily implementing front-of-pack labeling to share nutrition information, like the Facts up Front program in the United States and a complementary system in Mexico. Nonetheless, kudos to them for making the commitment. As we all know, making packaging changes is a costly endeavor. Doing so for confections might be construed seen as a dubious business decision. After all, do consumers really look at front-of-pack nutritional statements when purchasing a candy bar. Heck, as I’ve mentioned before in a previous column, it’s not like you’re buying a salad.

Or are consumers that stupid?

I think we all know the answer to that question. They are, we are, even I am, not stupid. Doesn’t mean we don’t make mistakes. Nor does it mean we don’t get fooled occasionally. But when a consumer gets taken, boy, does he or she remember.

Today, more than ever, consumers are reading labels and scrutinizing nutritional information. Making nutritional info easier and plainer to read helps all, even when a consumer simply wants indulgence and not information. There may be a moment, or moments, when a consumer wants that info. And easy-to-read nutritional info is something that every consumer does appreciate.

So why wait until Uncle Sam says it must be so. Consider Hershey’s KISS approach and begin thinking about front-of-pack labeling information. Your customers will be glad you did.