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WASHINGTON, DC  |  

June 22, 2011

Grocery Manufacturers Association Statement in Response to New England Journal of Medicine Article on Front of Pack Nutrition Labeling

Obesity is a serious problem. That is why America’s food and beverage companies enthusiastically share First Lady Michelle Obama’s goal of solving childhood obesity within a generation.

The health and wellness of our consumers has always been a top priority, and we have accelerated our effort to help consumers build healthier lifestyles in recent years. We have changed the recipes of more than 20,000 products to reduce calories, fat, sodium and sugar. We have pledged to remove 1.5 trillion calories from the food supply by 2015. We have voluntarily adopted strict advertising criteria so that two-thirds of ads seen on children’s programming now feature healthy products and healthy lifestyle messages.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association – Food Marketing Institute Nutrition Keys front-of-pack nutrition labeling initiative is designed to help provide busy consumers, especially parents, with the information they need to make informed decisions when they shop.

The highlight of the program is its simplicity. The program brings important, fact-based information from the Nutrition Facts Panel on the back of the package to the front in an easy to read and understand format that consumers find helpful. During extensive testing consumers gave the icon high marks for simplicity and reacted very favorably to the combination of information about calories, nutrients to limit and nutrients to encourage in the diet.

The Nutrition Keys program was developed in consultation with government stakeholders and is in full compliance with existing U.S. Food & Drug Administration regulations. It is aligned with the federal government’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines, which provides consumers with advice about foods and ingredients to limit and those to encourage in their daily diets. The Nutrition Keys fact-based format is also aligned with the Institute of Medicine’s fall 2010 nutrition labeling findings.

The private sector is well-positioned to move this initiative forward quickly and efficiently, and to get it into the marketplace as soon as possible, so that consumers can have access to an important and useful tool that testing shows will enjoy wide consumer acceptance. Nutrition Keys is another important example of how industry innovation and adapting to consumer needs can help consumers achieve a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle.

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Based in Washington, D.C., the Grocery Manufacturers Association is the voice of more than 300 leading food, beverage and consumer product companies that sustain and enhance the quality of life for hundreds of millions of people in the United States and around the globe.

Founded in 1908, GMA is an active, vocal advocate for its member companies and a trusted source of information about the industry and the products consumers rely on and enjoy every day. The association and its member companies are committed to meeting the needs of consumers through product innovation, responsible business practices and effective public policy solutions developed through a genuine partnership with policymakers and other stakeholders.

In keeping with its founding principles, GMA helps its members produce safe products through a strong and ongoing commitment to scientific research, testing and evaluation and to providing consumers with the products, tools and information they need to achieve a healthy diet and an active lifestyle. The food, beverage and consumer packaged goods industry in the United States generates sales of $2.1 trillion annually, employs 14 million workers and contributes $1 trillion in added value to the economy every year.