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The Nutrition Keys or Facts Up Front Program and Packaging

The Nutrition Keys or Facts Up Front Program and Packaging

We deal with a few companies that sell food products here at Nuvonium. In 2010 when Michele Obama asked the food industry to come up with a front-of-the-box labeling system that would help consumers quickly make informed decisions about the nutritional value of the food they are purchasing, we were eager to learn about what that would be like and how it would work.

Many manufacturers already featured self regulating markings indicating a healthy choices in their foods. The problem is there is no set standard between each manufacturer leading to what some could consider flimsy claims of nutritional value. Not only that but as a consumer all the different sizes and shapes included as these markers gets confusing. The consumer did not know where to look to compare nutritional values from one brand to the next in an easy at-a-glance manner.

A solution to this problem was created by the GMA (Grocery Manufacturers Association). The program, called Facts Up Front (formerly Nutrition Keys), consists of simple, easy-to-read symbols that follow a standardized design. These symbols are placed on the fronts of packaging as seen below. The system highlights four key nutrients for which dietary guidance recommends limiting consumption. As a counter point the manufacturer has the option to include 2 highlighted or positive nutritional values. There are also other options for smaller packaging. For the most part it simply reiterates what information you can find on the Nutrition Facts Panel but brings it to the front of the package easily seen from one brand to the next for comparison.

Effects to the Package Creating Community

As of now the program is completely voluntary. It was introduced by the industry and not the FDA. As you can imagine, this has cause some what of a political controversy which means it may be some time before anything like this is a mandatory regulation. There may be a time when this system is required in the future. For now unless the manufacturer you are designing for is participating in the program, the current design changes are not needed.

If you do find yourself designing for a manufacturer who wants to participate you can find the design standards for this information bar on the GMA website.

Jul 24, 2013
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