With the overwhelming obesity epidemic at hand and about 39,000 products available in the grocery store,1 how can you ensure that your family is eating healthy? Nearly 20 years ago, the Nutrition Facts Panel was mandated by FDA law to appear on the side or back of products. The past few years, the food and beverage industry collaborated with the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association (GMA) and Food Marketing Institute (FMI) to develop a new voluntary label system that makes it even easier to understand the nutritional quality of the products you are purchasing.
The Facts Up Front program was developed as a response to First Lady Michelle Obama’s request that the food industry provide consumers with the tools and information they need to construct a healthy diet for themselves and their families.2 The Facts Up Front are “keys” located on the front of the package to make it easier for people to quickly make nutritious decisions. Let’s take a deeper dive into Facts Up Front so you can make the most of this newest label feature!
Digging into the details
A product label will typically display four “keys” that include calories per serving and three nutrients: saturated fat, sodium, and sugar. These nutrients were selected because the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting them in the diet. You may see some other variations of this, though. For example, smaller packages with less label space and beverages can be exempt from displaying saturated fat, sodium, and sugar while larger labels have the option to include up to two additional nutrients. These additional nutrients must be a “nutrient to encourage” and can include calcium, iron, potassium, fiber, protein or vitamins A, C, or D. However, in order to appear on the front of the label, they must meet government criteria for making a good source nutrient claim, meaning they provide 10% or more of the Daily Value per serving.
Nutritional Needs Matter
Daily calorie needs are based upon your age, sex, weight, height and activity level so they vary from person to person. Not sure how many calories you need each day? Check out the Facts Up Front nutrition calculator, answer five easy questions and you will get your estimated calorie needs. In addition, different health conditions mean some individuals may need more or less of certain nutrients. Know your needs to get the most out of the Facts Up Front.
How can Campbell help?
Campbell has joined this voluntary initiative to help consumers make quicker and easier informed choices. It’s estimated that about 90% of Campbell products will include the Facts Up Front by the beginning of 2014. So, be sure to keep an eye out for the new “keys” on your favorite soups, beverages, and snacks. And remember, you can always find nutrition information for Campbell products as well as menus and recipes at www.campbellnutrition.com.
Nicole is the first regulatory affairs intern for Campbell Soup Company and a passionate nutritionist completing her B.S. of Nutrition and Dietetics at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Upon graduating in May 2014, she is hoping to be enrolled in a dietetic internship to complete her certification to become a Registered Dietitian. Her interests in health and wellness include working with individual clients, creative nutrition writing, pediatric nutrition, and pre-natal nutrition. Overall, her motto is to “spread the health”!
2. Facts Up Front-About Us http://factsupfront.org/AboutUs