When buying something new, how closely are American shoppers looking at the labels? Very closely according to a research survey conducted by Perception Research Services International (PRS). PRS found that 4 out of 5 shoppers said they notice “Made in the USA” claims on packaging. And 76% of shoppers claim they are likely to purchase a product after noticing the “Made in the USA” label. Now that’s a high conversion rate and a huge incentive for companies to focus on selling American-made products.
After the financial crisis in 2008, Americans realized the impact the items in their shopping cart were having on the economy. Even though shoppers were receiving cheaper prices, it came at a high price – the loss of American jobs to overseas competition. To put money back into the pockets of fellow citizens, American consumers shifted their priorities to support companies that sell American-made products.
But even if a product has an American flag on it, that doesn’t mean it was made in the USA. There is some ambiguity with labeling, and even rampant mislabeling of products. Let’s explore how a “Made in the USA” label is certified and which companies are seeing great success with their all-American products.
Who Gets to Use the “Made in USA” Tag?
A company can place the “Made in USA” tag on their product if the product is assembled in the U.S. and most parts or materials are also made in the U.S. The Federal Trade Commission states in their guidelines that “all or virtually all” of the product must be made in the United States. According to the Made in America Movement, “all or virtually all” means that all significant parts and processing must be of U.S. origin. The product should contain no — or negligible — foreign content.”
There are several other labels that companies use to boast that their supply chain supports the American economy. A label that states “Assembled in USA” means that the parts are imported and put together in a U.S. factory. A label that states “Made in USA with Foreign & Domestic Components” means some materials or parts of the product are made in the USA.
The Federal Trade Commission provides these guidelines, but doesn’t pre-approve advertising or labeling claims. The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) has called on the FTC to “provide greater clarity and more realistic ‘Made in USA’ labelling requirements to support domestic manufacturing”. Consumers looking for additional trust can look for the “Made in USA Certified” label on products. This additional certification is managed by Made in USA Certified, the only non-government organization (NGO) compliant with World Trade Organization labeling standards.
“Made in USA” Companies Generate Sales and Brand Loyalty
Many companies realized the economic advantages of focusing on American-made products. More mom-and-pop shops have opened up around the country, focusing on a local connection and commitment. In addition, the organic food and farm-to-table movement over the past decade have propelled consumers to be more cognizant of where and how products are being sourced and made.
These companies are showing increased sales year over year and have built a loyal customer base with their “Made in USA” status.
Tito’s Vodka doesn’t just advertise itself as an American brand, it is the only spirit brand to be “Made in USA Certified”.
The company was started in 1997 by Bert “Tito” Beveridge in Austin, Texas. He obtained the first legal permit to distill in Texas and created Tito's Handmade Vodka. Tito’s Vodka is distilled and produced in Austin to this day and only uses ingredients sourced from the United States.
This commitment to an American-made product has paid off. In 2017, Tito’s Vodka grew sales by 44% to nearly $190 million, surpassing Smirnoff and Jack Daniel’s to become the top-selling spirits brand in the U.S.
Bixbi Dog Food
Bixbi refers to itself as “the pet supply company that wants you to keep sniffing”. They want and encourage their customers to sniff out pet food companies that don’t use real meat from real animals in their ingredients.
By producing dog food that uses only USA-sourced ingredients, Bixbi has achieved great success in this niche, yet growing market. Bixbi’s food, treats, and supplements all use real meat from real animals along with vitamins and minerals – all sourced and made in the United States. Bixbi states on their website that they “receive certificates of origin for all of our ingredients and make sure they are fully traceable.” As a local company with a national impact, Bixbi has built a loyal customer base.
Green Toy Inc. doesn’t just claim to sell eco-friendly, American-made toys—they actually do. Founded in 2007 and based in California, Green Toys is dedicated to providing safe, sustainable, and eco-friendly toys to kids and parents.
From manufacturing to assembly to distribution, every toy is 100% US-made. The toys are made from recycled materials and plastics, especially milk jugs. To date, Green Toys has recycled more 53 million milk jugs.
Green Toys hit the market at the right time in 2007 just as Mattel issued a massive toy recall of nine million Chinese-made toys, including Barbie. The company was founded in 2007 by Robert von Goeben and Laurie Hyman out of their home in Sausalito, California and within the first three years of business, Green Toys grew by 70%. Today, the company is valued at more than $10 million and more than 1,500 U.S. retailers sell their products. Some of their biggest customers include Amazon, Whole Foods, and Pottery Barn.
There are many companies like Tito’s Vodka, Bixbi Foods, and Green Toys, growing their companies into million dollar brands. Consumers value transparency and it’s more important than ever for organizations to be honest about their sourcing, manufacturing, and distribution processes. By aligning with the American shopper’s desire to buy quality, American-made food, clothing, toys, and more, companies can find great success producing and selling all-American products.