Some of the nation’s largest food and beverage companies are implementing a common nutritional standard and using a universal logo on packaging to denote healthier foods in our grocery aisles, which they are hoping will help consumers identify and purchase healthier foods. This logo and packaging are part of the Smart Choices Program, which is expected to hit our grocery stores the middle of next year.
This logo will appear on the front of the products’ packaging and will include the Smart Choices logo, a check mark, the calories per serving and number of servings in the package. The Smart Choices Program logo signifies foods that limit unhealthy ingredients and feature healthy ones.
A few participants in this program are expected to include Coca-Cola, ConAgra Foods, General Mills, Kellogg, Kraft Foods, PepsiCo, Unilever, and Wal-Mart.
Basically, this is an attempt by larger food and beverage companies to help our nation’s weight problem. The companies are hoping these logos will help educate the public and make them more aware of what they are consuming and choose products that are more nutritious. Unlike companies’ individual attempt to mark products as healthier choices, this program will implement the same uniform standard and logo, which will help to minimize confusion and have consumers looking for the same logo on various products.
In order to meet this program’s criteria, a product cannot exceed standards for specific “nutrients to limit,” like total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, added sugars and sodium. For most categories, the products must also provide nutrients or food groups that are recommended by nutritionists for good health (i.e. calcium, potassium, fiber, magnesium, vitamin A, C and E).
Although this won’t cure the obesity epidemic in our country, it could help dieters and consumers see healthier food items and possibly encourage them to make healthier choices.
Also see the new ONQI food rating system, which ranks food on a 1-100 scale based on nutritional value.