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Grocery Manufacturers, Marketers Launch Front-of-Pack Nutrition Symbol

Jan 28, 2011

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) on Monday announced "Nutrition Keys," their joint initiative for a universal front-of-pack nutrition symbol. The symbol is intended for voluntary use on a variety of products across the entire food and beverage industry to provide clear and quick nutrition information to consumers. While the use of the symbol is voluntary, GMA intends for the symbol to be adopted to meet the call from First Lady Michelle Obama for companies to make it easier for shoppers to make informed purchase decisions.

The symbol must display the content of calories, saturated fat, sodium and total sugar, because these are nutrients that most Americans need to limit in their diets. Companies may also choose to declare up to two of the "nutrients to encourage" as long as the food contains at least 10 percent of the Daily Value of that nutrient per serving. These nutrients are potassium, fiber, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium and iron. Small food packages that do not have room to declare all four of the basic nutrients may declare just the calories per serving on the front of the food package.

The Nutrition Keys symbol offers a more complete nutrient profile of a food than symbols that may just declare the nutrients to limit. As an example, the Nutrition Keys symbol on the front panel of a package of cheddar cheese would declare the calories, saturated fat, sodium and sugars in a serving of cheese, along with the protein and calcium provided in the serving.

"Providing a complete picture of the product, including nutrients to encourage and others to limit, in an easy-to-understand, consistent labeling format is no easy task, but this initiative definitely seems to be on the right track," said Connie Tipton, IDFA president and CEO.

Visit GMA's website to view examples of the symbol and read more information on the Nutrition Keys initiative.

Members with questions may also contact Michelle Matto, IDFA's consultant on nutrition issues, at


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