Finally a "smart" choice

Articles
October 27, 2008

Finally a "smart" choice

There is little doubt that today’s consumers are more confused by on package health claims than ever before. In an unprecedented “smart” move, several of America’s leading food brands have agreed that the time has come to help consumers – and end the confusion. “Smart Choices” is a new labeling system that was developed under the guidance of the non-profit group, The Keystone Center. Over the past few years, hundreds of proprietary “healthy” graphics have popped up on the packages on our supermarket shelves – the problem has been that too often companies have followed their own path – and agenda – in creating graphics that have been inconsistent, confusing, and as a result have become ignored by many shoppers.But that is about to change...

There is little doubt that today’s consumers are more confused by on package health claims than ever before. In an unprecedented “smart” move, several of America’s leading food brands have agreed that the time has come to help consumers – and end the confusion.

“Smart Choices” is a new labeling system that was developed under the guidance of the non-profit group, The Keystone Center. 
 
Over the past few years, hundreds of proprietary “healthy” graphics have popped up on the packages on our supermarket shelves – the problem has been that too often companies have followed their own path – and agenda – in creating graphics that have been inconsistent, confusing, and as a result have become ignored by many shoppers.
 
Starting in 2009, companies including ConAgra, Coca-Cola, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Kraft, PepsiCo, Unilever, and Wal-Mart have announced they will replace their existing symbols and use this uniform system and label. The Smart Choices symbol will be placed on the front of packages of foods that meet its criteria and will contain just two simple pieces of information: calories per serving and the number of servings in a package.

To qualify for the symbol, foods would need to meet certain nutritional criteria including: limits on total fat, Trans fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium and added sugars. While containing beneficial nutrients including calcium, potassium, fiber, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and Vitamin E. The program also encourages the consumption of certain food groups: fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat or fat-free-dairy.

A great move for consumers, brands and retailers – we can only hope it is the beginnings of even more collaboration and agreement… how about food recalls as the next item on the agenda?