Soon it’s going to be a lot harder to justify those indulgent product choices at the supermarket. In the coming months, consumers will begin to see new icons on the front of food and beverage labels that spell out the nutrition facts currently in fine print elsewhere on the product.
The new Nutrition Keys initiative has been developed by industry trade groups, the Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers Association, at the request of First Lady Michelle Obama in her crusade to reduce America’s childhood obesity problem within a generation.
To launch the initiative, the FMI and GMA will spend $50 million over a 12-month period to educate consumers about Nutrition Keys and raise awareness of it. After a review, the trade groups selected four Omnicom units for that effort: agency BBDO, NY; retail promotions company Integer; media network PHD and digital company Proximity. They will work with outside PR firms Edelman and FoodMinds.
The Nutrition Keys campaign will begin to roll out this fall and use multiple traditional and digital communications channels as well as PR and point-of-purchase. The program is voluntary for manufacturers and is similar to one already in operation in the U.K.
“We’ve had great response–unanimous consent from the boards of the Food Marketing institute and the Grocery Manufacturers Association–and those companies represent 70 percent of the packaged goods in the U.S.,” said Sean McBride, vp, communications at GMA.
Participating companies are required to list the calories, saturated fat, sodium and sugar per serving of a product and tell consumers how each serving contributes to overall diet based on current recommended nutrition intake, per the U.S. government. However, marketers can also include information about product attributes that are to be encouraged, nutrients like potassium, fiber and vitamins A and C.