America’s food and beverage manufacturers and retailers have announced the launch of Nutrition Keys, a new voluntary front-of-pack nutrition labeling system that may help consumers make informed choices when they shop. The Nutrition Keys program was developed by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and Food Marketing Institute (FMI) in response to a request from First Lady Michelle Obama in March of last year.
“We share First Lady Michelle Obama’s goal of solving childhood obesity within a generation,” said Pamela G. Bailey, President and Chief Executive Officer of GMA. “Today’s announcement would not have been possible without her leadership. Food and beverage companies have a strong track record of providing consumers with the products, tools, and information they need to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle, and this program represents a significant milestone in our ongoing effort to help consumers construct a healthy diet.”
The Nutrition Keys program will change the look of a majority of the country’s food and beverage products by placing important nutrition information (calories, saturated fat, sodium, and total sugars content) on the front of packages. To appeal to busy consumers, the information will be presented in a fact-based, simple, and easy-to-use format. The icon will inform consumers about how the key nutrients in each product fit into a balanced and healthy diet as part of the federal government’s daily dietary advice. To view the icons and related information, click here.
In addition, the Nutrition Keys icon on some products will display information about “nutrients to encourage” that are important for a healthy diet, but are under-consumed by the general population. Nutrients to encourage that may appear on some products as part of the Nutrition Keys icon are: potassium, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium, iron, and also protein. The Board of Directors of GMA and FMI adopted a joint resolution in support of the Nutrition Keys initiative at their January 23 joint board meeting. Those companies represent the vast majority of food and beverage products sold in grocery stores.
Companies will begin to place the icon on their products in 2011 according to seasonality and production schedules. Consumers will begin to see the Nutrition Keys icon on products in the next few months, and the number of products that carry the icon will continue to grow throughout the year.