WASHINGTON — The Grocery Manufacturers Association unveiled its SmartLabel platform on Dec. 2 that will provide consumers with access to information about what is in the products they buy. The platform will include web sites, apps, QR codes and other elements to make product research easier for consumers.
More than 30 consumer packaged goods companies have committed to the effort, including the Hershey Co., Hormel Foods, Kellogg, J.M. Smucker, Nestle, Tyson Foods and others. Consumers will begin seeing products from companies participating in the effort in early 2016 and the G.M.A. estimates nearly 30,000 products will feature a SmartLabel by the end of 2017.
|Pamela G. Bailey, president and c.e.o. of the G.M.A.
“People want more information and are asking more questions about products they buy, use and consume, and SmartLabel puts detailed information right at their fingertips,” said Pamela G. Bailey, president and chief executive officer of the Grocery Manufacturers Association. “SmartLabel is a modern technology that will change how people shop and will help them get answers to questions they have on the products they purchase when they want that information.”
For consumers who may not have smartphones or have limited access to the Internet, a number of retailers have said they will help shoppers via their customer service desk in stores, according to the G.M.A.
Attributes included in SmartLabel will fall into two categories. The first will be information companies are required by law to list on product labels. The second category will include voluntary information related to such topics as vegan, fair trade, dolphin safe, etc. An example of how information will be presented to consumers may be viewed by following this link.
Many companies will disclose the presence of bioengineered ingredients in their products, according to the G.M.A. But the association said the establishment of a national, uniform standard would spur disclosure efforts. Currently the G.M.A. and other groups are lobbying Congress to pass legislation setting a uniform standard for the labeling of products containing bioengineered ingredients.
|J.P. Bilbrey, chairman, president and c.e.o. of The Hershey Co. and chairman of the G.M.A.’s board of directors
“People’s relationship with food has changed dramatically and consumers now want to know more about their food, such as where it came from and what went into making it,” said J.P. Bilbrey, who is chairman, president and c.e.o. of The Hershey Co. and chairman of the G.M.A.’s board of directors. “SmartLabel creates a way for consumers to get unprecedented access to information about what is in their food. This is what real food transparency is about.”