The GMA announced launched a new website last week for its Facts Up Front campaign to “educate and empower consumers” — which is the asserted goal of the labeling scheme itself. GMA also claimed that the Facts Up Front label is now used on 90% of foods in some categories, with usage highest among cereals, beverages and dry goods.
“Facts Up Front” is led by GMA and the Food Marketing Institute and was launched in January 2011 as a type of “self regulation” by the industry. The Facts Up Front label is intended to highlight key nutrient information on the front of packages. Specifically, the label shows calories per serving and information on three nutrients to limit in your diet: saturated fat, sodium and sugar. Labels may also have information on one or two nutrients that Americans need to get more of as part of a healthy diet. These “encouraged” nutrients will only appear on a package if the product contains 10 percent or more of the daily value per serving of the nutrient and meets the FDA requirements for a “good source.”
According to GMA:
“Facts Up Front empowers consumers to make informed choices. It arms them with critical nutrition information about their favorite products,” said Pamela G. Bailey, President and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association. “But to make the most of Facts Up Front, Americans need to understand what that information means, and how it relates to their calorie and nutrient needs. Through this website, we are providing consumers with the knowledge and tools they need to build a healthful diet.”
Because no FOP labeling scheme is perfect, the government is unlikely to step in with its own regulations for FOP labeling so long as the Facts Up Front scheme gains wide industry acceptance.