Food labels can help you choose which food product best meets your nutritional needs but sometimes using those labels gets time consuming. A new food labeling tool brings nutrition information from the Nutrition Facts Panel on the back of packages, up to the front.
Facts Up Front is a new front of package tool that is reflected by icons that call out key nutrients so that you can more easily compare products. Facts Up Front is a joint effort of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI). GMA is the organization that represents food and beverage companies and FMI represents food wholesalers and retailers. Together they have partnered to develop Facts Up Front and the educational campaign that supports it. I have been a member of the Facts Up Front Advisory group since its inception, which has allowed me to review the science behind this new labeling and provide guidance to best educate consumers on how to make this new tool work for them.
Packages that carry the Facts Up Front label must show four nutrients – Calories, Saturated Fat, Sodium and Sugars (small packages are allowed to show calories only). Food manufacturers may add up to two additional nutrients, out of a list of 8, if they are a good source (at least 10% of the Daily Value) of the nutrient.
The four nutrients that must appear on every Facts Up Front label are those which consumers should limit, since most people consume above and beyond what’s recommended in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The optional nutrients are those we need to consume more of, such as calcium, potassium, fiber and vitamin D.
If you haven’t seen this new labeling, start looking for it on packages in your store. For more information about the labels, or for recipes, shopping tips and a nutrition calculator option, visit www.factsupfront.org