FMI, GMA kick off Nutrition Keys to fight obesity

PHOENIX — In an effort to curb obesity rates in the United States, two lobbying groups announced a joint effort to fight the epidemic.

The Food Marketing Institute and Grocery Manufacturers Association said that Nutrition Keys, a voluntary front-of-pack nutrition labeling system, will help consumers make healthier choices when purchasing food. Front-of-pack nutrition labels place important nutrition information (i.e., calories, fat, saturated fat and sodium) where they can't be dismissed or ignored.

"Food and beverage companies have a strong track record of providing consumers with the products, tools and information they need to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle, and this program represents a significant milestone in our ongoing effort to help consumers construct a healthy diet," said Pamela Bailey, GMA president and CEO.

Several retailers and food manufacturers, including Hy-Vee, ConAgra and Campbell's, expressed their support of the initiative.

In line with the program, FMI and GMA will launch a $50 million consumer education campaign, the organizations said.

"Today’s sophisticated consumer wants more information about their food than ever before," said Leslie Sarasin, president and CEO of FMI. "Nutrition Keys, combined with the many innovative nutrition education tools and programs in retail stores, is helping us meet that challenge and exceed consumer expectations."