Private label products will soon be sporting new front-of-package nutritional labeling as will name brand products, a panel of industry representatives announced during a press conference at the Food Marketing Institute’s midwinter meeting in Phoenix Monday.
The new Nutrition Keys labeling program will place calorie, saturated fat, sodium and sugar information on the front of packaged goods. The information is encased in white thumbnail-shaped boxes. Products with the new labeling are expected to begin hitting store shelves later this year.
The program “will extend to store brands,” said Ric Jurgens, chairman of the board and CEO with Hy Vee Inc. Jurgens also chairs FMI. Hy Vee is committed to using the new labeling on all its stores brands and other FMI retailer/board members also are committed 100 percent to the program, Jurgens said in a response to a question from PLBuyer. “I think you’ll see it very soon,” he said of the new labeling on private label offerings.
FMI joined with the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) in announcing the new guidelines. The initiative is a voluntary one, done in response to calls from first lady Michelle Obama for industry action, said Pamela Bailey, GMA’s president and CEO. Asked if the industry was trying to do something before the Food and Drug Administration came out with new labeling guidelines, Bailey said the industry moved in response to Obama’s request and because “the consumer has been waiting.”
The new labeling will not mean abandonment of such retailer programs as Hy Vee’s NuVal nutritional scoring system, Jurgens said. The two systems will work together to inform consumers, he said. NuVal scores items on a 100-point scale of nutritional quality.
A $50 million industry-funded marketing campaign will launch in the fall to support the new labeling.