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The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) have debuted a national consumer education campaign to shore up awareness and understanding of the nutrient-based labeling system Facts Up Front. The effort will be supported by a national advertising campaign to further engage shoppers and help them make better food choices.
The move comes in the wake of the FDA’s proposed changes to the Nutrition Facts panel, for which food makers have expressed support, offering their assistance in the endeavor.
“A recent literature review by the FDA tells us that front-of-package labels are most effective when reinforced by an education program,” explained Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO of Washington, D.C.-based GMA. “With more than 50 companies voluntarily implementing Facts Up Front on their branded and private label products, it’s important for shoppers to know this tool is out there and that they understand how to use it. With Facts Up Front, we’re simplifying nutrition so everyone has the essential information needed to help build more healthful diets.”
A recent online survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of GMA found that more than nine in 10 grocery shopping decision makers think that Facts Up Front makes nutrition information easy to find and use (93 percent), and that it’s easy to understand (92 percent). The education campaign will reach more consumers to raise awareness of the label and help improve their nutrition knowledge and ability to use the labeling system most effectively. Facts Up Front advertising can be seen now across a range of print and digital media through October 2014.
“Our research tells us that more than two-thirds of shoppers read food labels, looking for information related to sodium content, sugar, fat and calories,” said Leslie G. Sarasin, president and CEO of Arlington, Va.-based FMI. “Food retailers listen to their customers and the Facts Up Front Program gives these shoppers the information they’re looking for in a convenient, easily accessible format.”
The campaign also offers an online toolkit to aid retailers in promoting Facts Up Front in stores, where most purchase decisions take place. All print, digital and in-store communications direct shoppers to the Facts Up Front website, available in both English and Spanish and optimized for mobile devices. The site features a Nutrition Calculator to figure out specific calorie and nutrient needs, and an Interactive Label that explains the nutrients highlighted in Facts Up Front, how they affect health, and common sources of each.
The basic Facts Up Front label lists calories and information on saturated fat, sodium and sugar per serving; manufacturers may also include information on one or two nutrients, including potassium, fiber, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium and iron.
Developed in answer to First Lady Michelle Obama’s request to the food and beverage industry to provide new ways to help Americans eat more nutritious foods, Facts Up Front now appears on branded and private label products from numerous manufacturers, retailers and wholesalers. A diverse advisory panel of external third-party experts from health, nutrition and medical backgrounds guides the voluntary science- and research-based initiative.