Food Industry Introduces Front-of-Pack Nutrition Labels

January 28, 2011
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+
The food industry initiated an effort to put nutrition facts on the front of packaging for processed foods and beverages to better help consumers in making sound nutritional choices at the supermarket. The move is drawing criticism from public health experts and even the Obama Administration.

The food industry is unveiling plans to this year put nutritional labels on the front of packages on a voluntary basis will begin with "nutrition keys" in addition to more comprehensive nutrition labels that are required elsewhere on packages. Four basic icons will be found on most packages grouped as a set, indicating calories, amount of saturated fat, sodium and sugar per serving. They will not replace the Nutrition Facts label found on the back of most food packaging, which has been required by federal law since 1994.

Spearheaded by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), the new, voluntary front-of-package (FOP) labeling system, dubbed Nutrition Keys, is designed to be “fact-based, simple and easy to use,” and could be the most significant revision in food labeling since the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act, which introduced the back-of-label Nutrition Facts panel.

“We developed this as an effective way to bring nutrition to the front of panel, so consumers can begin to build a healthy diet right from the start,” explains Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO of Washington, D.C.-based Grocery Manufacturers Association, which represents the majority of processed food and beverage makers as well as retailers.

The goal is to help unify the front of food packages, which often incorporate an array of graphic differing symbols and codes, to educate consumers on healthy foods. But according to reports, the Obama administration has stated that, “in the end, the label was going to be confusing, because those things would be included out of context, and it could make unhealthy foods appear like they had some redeeming quality.”  

Once the guidelines go into effect, the food industry could come under pressure to change packaging again. In a statement, the White House said the labeling initiative was “a significant first step” but added that it would “look forward to future improvement” in the system. It said the Food and Drug Administration would closely monitor the effort “to evaluate whether the new label is meeting the needs of American consumers.”

Source: Grocery Manufacturers Association,,,

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery Magazine 

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

2014 Bakery of the Year: Capistrano's Wholesale Bakery, Phoenix AZ

Here’s a look at Capistrano’s Bakery, our 2014 Bakery of the Year.

11/7/13 2:00 pm EST

Food Plant of the Future: The Future of Wastewater Management

Available On-Demand Effective management of wastewater is becoming increasingly critical to food and beverage processors as the cost for incoming water increases...

National Pizza Month

October is National Pizza Month! Where do you go to grab a slice (or two) of your favorite pie?
View Results Poll Archive


Organic Production and Food Quality: A Down to Earth Analysis

Effects of Organic Production on Food Quality is the first comprehensive book on how organic production methods influence the safety and quality of foods, based on an unbiased assessment of the latest scientific findings.  The title is a 'must-have' for everyone working within the food industry.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.


Facebook IconTwitter IconYoutube IconLinkedIn Icon

The Weekly Mix

Operations Weekly Logo

Written by Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery editors, our Operations Weekly weekly enewsletter provides bakers and snack food manufacturers with up-to-the-minute news, ideas and industry trends.

Sign up today!