F.M.I., G.M.A. form front-of-pack partnership

by Keith Nunes
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WASHINGTON — The Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers Association have formed a partnership to develop a front-of-package labeling system designed to easily inform consumers about the nutritional attributes of food and beverage products. As part of the initiative, member companies from both trade associations have committed $50 million to a consumer education campaign about the new front-of-package system. The new labeling effort will be introduced in 2011.

The associations said that in the coming months they will finalize the details of the initiative, including the technical and design elements. In addition, both groups said they will work to provide consumers with information on the nutrients needed to build a nutrient-dense diet and on “shortfall nutrients” that are under-consumed in the diets of most Americans.

“The food and beverage industry is committed to empowering consumers by providing them with the products, tools and information they need to achieve and maintain a healthy diet,” said Pamela G. Bailey, president and chief executive officer of the G.M.A. “This initiative comes on top of the 20,000 healthier product choices we have developed, the responsible marketing practices we have adopted and the tens of millions of dollars we spend annually on healthy lifestyle promotion.”

David Mackay, president and c.e.o. of the Kellogg Co., Battle Creek, Mich., added that “This is a landmark step forward in the industry’s commitment to help address the obesity challenge. It represents the most significant change to food labels in the United States in nearly 20 years. And our commitment to an ambitious consumer education campaign will amplify the impact the labeling change will have in households across the country.”

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