GMA, FMI join forces to make America healthier

WASHINGTON The nation's food and beverage manufacturers and retailers are taking an extra step to combat obesity.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association and the Food Marketing Institute are joining forces to develop a new front-of-package nutrition labeling system, which will present nutrition information in a fact-based, simple and easy-to-use format. The industry groups will finalize the details of the initiative, including the technical and design elements, in the coming months.

“The food and beverage industry is committed to empowering consumers by providing them with the products, tools and information they need to achieve and maintain a healthy diet,” said GMA president and CEO Pamela Bailey. “This initiative comes on top of the 20,000 healthier product choices we have developed, the responsible marketing practices we have adopted and the tens of millions of dollars we spend annually on healthy lifestyle promotion.”

Consumers can expect to see the new labeling system by early next year.

“Thanks to this initiative and many other innovative industry programs, consumers will now have access to more information about their food than ever before,” said FMI president and CEO Leslie Sarasin. “This unprecedented partnership with manufacturers will expand access to nutrition information for all Americans and give shoppers a powerful tool to assist them in selecting nutritious products.”

The industry groups also added that it will drive awareness to the new labeling system with a $50 million consumer education campaign, which also will launch in 2011.

“Through this initiative, we continue to deliver on our promise to our consumers and demonstrate that we are moving farther [and] faster in our ongoing effort to play a constructive and responsible role in the fight against obesity,” Bailey added.

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