Program Helps Consumers Make 'Smart Choices'

NSF International and the American Society for Nutrition rolled out a new nutritional front-of-package labeling program called the “Smart Choices Program.”

NSF International and the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) rolled out a new nutritional front-of-package labeling program called the “Smart Choices Program.”

This program provides manufacturers and retailers with a front-of-pack icon plus calorie information that helps consumers recognize smarter food products within specific categories.

The goal of this new labeling program is to bring consistency and clarity to the U.S. marketplace.

Companies who have already signed up to participate in the program include ConAgra Foods, General Mills, Kellogg Company, Kraft Foods, PepsiCo, SunMaid and Unilever.

Bethesda, Md.-based ASN and Ann Arbor, Mich.-based NSF International will act as program administrators providing both scientific and technical expertise to a board of directors comprised of non-profit, scientific and industry representatives.

To qualify for the Smart Choices Program, all products must meet standards for specific “nutrients to limit,” and, for most categories, products also must meet criteria for positive attributes, which are promoted as “nutrients to encourage” or “food groups to encourage.” Specific qualifying criteria were developed for 19 different product categories, including baked goods and snacks.

The criteria stresses limiting total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, added sugars and sodium while it encourages the consumption of calcium, potassium, fiber, magnesium and selected vitamins. It encourages the consumption of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat or fat-free dairy foods.

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