FMI shares FDA’s goals of reducing diet-related chronic health conditions, prioritizing nutrition activities and empowering consumers to make healthier choices.
FMI – The Food Industry Association emphasized the importance of giving consumers clear, consistent nutrition information during the Reagan-Udall Foundation’s Nov. 16 public meeting on front-of-package (FOP) labeling as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mulls proposed FOP labeling proposals. FMI shares FDA’s goals of reducing diet-related chronic health conditions, prioritizing nutrition activities and empowering consumers to make healthier choices.
In her remarks at the meeting, Krystal Register, senior director, health and well-being at Arlington, Va.-based FMI, said: “FMI is the co-creator of the Facts Up Front (FUF) program – a voluntary labeling program designed to allow consumers to use key product information like calories, saturated fat, sodium, added sugars and nutrients. … FMI believes that FUF is the best-suited FOP scheme, with clear facts to help consumers make informed choices.”
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Added Register: “Many of FDA’s proposed FOP schemes go beyond factual disclosure with subjective characterization of foods. Reducing a food’s entire dietary contribution to whether it is low, medium or high in one to three nutrients to avoid is overly simplistic and will not help educate consumers on how to improve their overall dietary pattern. We also believe meaningful discussion of consumer guidance must include calories, which none of the FOP schemes tested have included.”
She concluded: “When considering the potential intersection with other nutrition-related policies, there are noted conflicts between the proposed definition of ‘healthy,’ nutrient content claim levels, guidance for using Dietary Guidance Statements and the front-of-package schemes tested. As policies intersect, there must be alignment of parameters, and values must be considered in unison to prevent consumer confusion.”
These label changes are being discussed as recent research shows that they remain an important message point in the physical store, with 55% of consumers who shop in-person likely to check food labels, versus 46% of those who buy online, according to a survey conducted earlier this year by the International Food Information Council. The organization additionally found that if the word “healthy” is on the label, shoppers will overwhelmingly choose that option.