Facts Up Front Launches Consumer Education Campaign To Increase Nutrition Knowledge

March 7, 2014

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) unveiled its national consumer education campaign to bolster awareness and understanding of Facts Up Front. The nutrient-based labeling system will be supported by a national advertising campaign to further educate consumers on the initiative and help them make informed food decisions for their families.

Facts Up Front labels bring important information from the Nutrition Facts Panel, found on the back and side of packages, and displays it in a simple and easy-to-use format on the front of America's favorite food and beverage products.

"A recent literature review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tells us that front-of-package labels are most effective when reinforced by an education program," said Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, in a prepared statement. "With more than 50 companies voluntarily implementing Facts Up Front on their branded and private label products, it's important for shoppers to know this tool is out there and that they understand how to use it. With Facts Up Front, we're simplifying nutrition so everyone has the essential information needed to help build more healthful diets."

According to a recent online survey, conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of GMA, more than nine in 10 grocery shopping decision makers agree that Facts Up Front makes nutrition information easy to find and use (93 percent), and that it is simple to understand (92 percent). The education campaign will reach more consumers to build awareness of the label and help enhance their nutrition knowledge and ability to use Facts Up Front most effectively. Facts Up Front advertising can be seen now across a variety of print and digital media through October 2014.

FMI President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin said, "Our research tells us that more than two-thirds of shoppers read food labels, looking for information related to sodium content, sugar, fat and calories. Food retailers listen to their customers and the Facts Up Front Program gives these shoppers the information they're looking for in a convenient, easily accessible format."

To complement the advertising efforts, the campaign also includes an online toolkit to help retailers communicate Facts Up Front in stores – the place where most purchase decisions are made. All print, digital and in-store communications direct consumers to the Facts Up Front Website, available in both English and Spanish and optimized for mobile devices. FactsUpFront.org provides tools and resources that give visitors relevant nutrition information, including a nutrition calculator to determine specific calorie and nutrient needs, and also an interactive label that explains the nutrients featured in Facts Up Front, how they impact health and common sources of each.

"The tools and information the Facts Up Front program provides can help parents build better diets for themselves and their families, while also teaching children behaviors they will carry on with them for a lifetime," said Robert Murray, MD, former chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on School Health and a professor in the Department of Human Nutrition at the Ohio State University. "Parents need to set the stage for their children, so that they have the chance to live long, healthy lives free of weight issues and preventable chronic diseases."

The basic Facts Up Front label lists calories and information about saturated fat, sodium and sugar per serving – nutrients the government's Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting. Additionally, manufacturers may also include information on one or two nutrients to encourage – potassium, fiber, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium and iron.

Facts Up Front was developed in response to First Lady Michelle Obama's call on the food and beverage industry to provide new tools for helping Americans construct a healthier diet. Numerous manufacturers, retailers and wholesalers are voluntarily implementing Facts Up Front on their branded and private label products.

Facts Up Front is advised by a diverse advisory panel of external third-party experts from health, nutrition and medical backgrounds. It is grounded in sound science and research on consumer messaging about nutrition, including the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and has been designed to be flexible to accommodate changes to federal guidelines and regulations, including the Nutrition Facts panel.