The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) are announcing their "Nutrition Keys" plan for front-of-pack (FOP) nutrition labels. Their member companies have agreed to display calories and percent of saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium, per serving, on the front of product packages.
So far, so good.
But they also will be displaying up to eight "positives," nutrients that are supposed to be good for you. They say they will be using some kind of design similar to what some companies are using now, only with "positives" added.
Note: this illustration comes from Mars (the company, not the planet). It is not what GMA and FMI will necessarily use.
Let me repeat what I wrote last October when GMA and FMI first said they intended to do this: Forget the consumer-friendly rhetoric.
There is only one explanation for this move: heading off the FDA's own front-of-package labeling initiatives.
In October, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released the first of its FDA-sponsored reports on FOP labels. Based on research on consumer understanding of food labels and other considerations, the IOM committee strongly recommended that FOP symbols only list calories, sodium, trans fat, and saturated fat.