* Three new nutrition labels coming soon to packaged foods
* The new certification will be displayed as logos on packaging
* Designed to help shoppers buy healthy food quickly and easily
Greater transparency about the food we eat is becoming increasingly important to consumers. Many restaurants, including fast-food giants like McDonald’s even display the caloric content next to each menu item (whether you wanted to know, or not).
But if your diet is more complex than counting calories, navigating the grocery store to look for healthy foods that suit the increasingly specified and complex dietary needs today can be a challenge. Now, new programs and certification labels vetted by non-governmental organizations are in the works to help consumers easily identify the foods they want, without trying to decode FDA and food manufacturer jargon.
The first of three new labeling programs will signify a “Nutritionist-approved” product. The certification program was conceived of by Good Housekeeping Institute’s nutrition director, Jaclyn London, who will be in charge of vetting the products in question, based on criteria that meets a few different guidelines. To receive the Nutritionist Approved certification, the product must meet the 2014-2015 Guidelines for Nutrition and must prove its intent to use less additives, making it easier for consumers to maintain healthy diets. London claims the new program’s larger goal is to use this seal of approval to encourage companies to practice greater transparency in product marketing and to manufacture food using healthier ingredients. The company must also pay a fee to be considered for certification.
The second new logo comes to consumers courtesy of Kashi, in an attempt to sympathize with farmers after learning just how difficult the process of becoming certified organic is. The “Certified Transnational” label, will let consumers know that the farmers producing the food in question are in the process of receiving the organic certification. According to the director of supply chain and sustainability at Kashi, Nicole Nestojko, the ultimate goal of this program and its corresponding labeling system is “to support farmers in that transition period and help consumers directly impact the increase in organic agriculture in the U.S.”
The third labeling effort will be “50% Whole Grain.” While the “100% Whole Grain” tag has been around since 2005, this new label will address products that contain half whole grains, with the other half being refined. It is recommended that half the grains you consume on a daily basis are whole, but until now, there has been no indication of products that fall in between, which are still much healthier options than your average white or fortified multi-grain bread products. This new label comes from a non-profit organization called OldWays with the intent of giving manufacturers “another benchmark to strive for,” while rewarding them for increasing the amount of whole grain in their products.