Smart decision to shelve ‘Smart Choices’
Score a victory for the Food and Drug Administration, as the food industry group behind those “Smart Choices” labels has decided to voluntarily halt promotions while the FDA seeks to better define nutritional claims in the marketplace.
In August, the FDA sent an open letter to the Smart Choices program — a rebranding/marketing campaign underwritten by nine major corporations including Kellogg’s and Kraft — explaining that the agency would be monitoring the nutrition label campaign. One of the main issues appeared to be concerns over the potential placement of the label:
Since FDA’s consumer research has found that people are less likely to check the Nutrition Facts label on the back or side panel of foods with
front-of-pack labeling, it is essential that both the criteria and symbols used in front of package and shelf-labeling systems help consumers make healthy food choices.
The Smart Choices program drew fire in September for giving a green check-mark of approval to sugary cereals like Fruit Loops and Cocoa Puffs. In essence, nutritionists took issue with what they saw as a marketing campaign that was confusing consumers.