Pursuant to a Request for Comment by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Vitamin Cottage Natural Food Markets, Inc. (“Natural Grocers) conducted a survey of consumers to help understand the usefulness of front-of-pack nutrition labels. This paper is submitted in response to the FDA’s Request for Comments as referenced above.
Highlights from the Survey:
- Most front-of-pack nutrition labeling has a neutral affect on health-conscious consumers’ perceptions of healthiness of food.
- Health-concious consumers rely primarily on the Ingredients list and somewhat on the Nutrition Facts label to determine healthiness of foods.
- Health-concious consumers have specific ingredients that can cause a food to be rated unhealthy, no matter what other healthy attributes the food has.
- Certain front-of-pack labels provide respondents with high correlation to healthiness, including “No GMOs,” “USDA Organic,” and “No Preservatives.”
Download the full survey results here. (13 pages, PDF format, opens in new window).
The full IOM report to the FDA on front0=-of-pack labels was released on October 20, 2011. You can download the draft PDF at this address here for free: Front-of-Package Nutrition Rating Systems and Symbols: Promoting Healthier Choices
Generally, the IMO report takes a brave stance: require the top three or four key problem ingredient profiles to be disclosed on front-of-pack, and required that they be included in any short-cut ranking system. In the current recommendation, calories, saturated and trans fat, sodium (salt), and sugars must be included in the nutritional analysis. No more highlighting only a few positive nutritionals in a highly processed and unhealthy food.
This is far from becomin a standard or mandatory scheme. The industrial food system has already hit back with their "why this won't work" rebuttals.