WASHINGTON — The list of groups developing programs to promote nutrition and healthy lifestyles grew longer today with the introduction of Take a Peak, a program initiated by the Grocery Manufacturers Association/Food Products Association (GMA/FPA) and the Food Marketing Institute (F.M.I.).
Through in-store messaging, the program offers advice that shows consumers how changes in their purchasing habits and diets may improve their health.
"GMA/FPA and its member companies are committed to providing consumers with the tools they need to make healthful and informed food choices," said Cal Dooley, president and chief executive officer of GMA/FPA. "This one-of-a-kind program, which combines the government’s nutrition expertise and our industry’s marketing prowess, is an important collaboration that will benefit individual consumers as well as our nation’s public health."
Using the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPyramid program as its foundation, Take a Peak was initially launched in 17 states and is in approximately 2,000 retail locations. It features point of purchase materials, including banners, informational kiosks, floor graphics, coupons and displays
MyPyramid emphasizes a healthy diet is one that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fat-free, low-fat milk, lean meats and is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt, sodium and added sugars. The Take a Peak campaign was designed around those criteria.
In the past year, the Clinton Global Health Initiative, Walt Disney Co., Hannaford Bros. supermarket chain and Pathmark Stores, Inc. have introduced their own branded nutrition guidelines. Each is based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005, but take different approaches in communicating the nutritional values of food products. Pathmark, for example, has introduced its Healthy Steps program while Hannaford Bros. use stars to depict the nutritional quality of foods.
"All our research shows consumers are eager for healthy food choices and dietary information that will help them control the ingredients in their meals and support healthy eating at home," said Tim Hammonds, president and c.e.o. of the F.M.I. "Take a Peak is an excellent example of a valuable collaboration that can reach millions of consumers and change behavior."