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The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) announced yesterday that they have “joined forces ... in the fight against obesity and announced their commitment to develop a new front-of-package nutrition labeling system.  The unprecedented consumer initiative will make it easier for busy consumers to make informed choices when they shop.

“This program will add important nutrition information on calories and other nutrients to limit to the front of the packages of many of the country’s most popular food and beverage products.  To appeal to busy consumers, the information will be presented in a fact-based, simple and easy-to-use format.”

FMI and GMA said that it will take a few months to finalize “the specifics of the initiative, including the technical and design elements.  In addition, details will be finalized on how to provide consumers with information on nutrients needed to build a ‘nutrient-dense’ diet and on ‘shortfall nutrients’ that are under-consumed in the diets of most Americans.”
KC's View:
Kudos to FMI and GMA for doing this.

Anything that can be done to create a national standard that will allow people to access easy and usable information so they can make smart shopping decisions is a good idea. The one thing I hear consistently from many retailers is that as much as they would like to have a nutritional labeling system, they are concerned about the lack of a single format. So this should get a lot of buy-in. (Especially because it emerges from the private sector, avoiding dreaded “government interference.”)

I’m fond of quoting Ric Jurgens, CEO of Hy-Vee and the current chairman of FMI, on this subject: his company has embraced nutritional labeling because he feels a personal and professional responsibility to help change the world by addressing the national obesity crisis. That’s not just good corporate citizenship, but smart marketing ... something that can be said about all the companies involved with this consumer-focused effort.