Brand Packaging

Front-of-pack nutrition labeling: more clutter?

January 1, 2009


Major food and beverage manufacturers have committed to the Smart Choices Program, a front-of-pack nutrition labeling system expected to roll out in mid-2009. The goal is to offer a single, at-a-glance calorie information system for shoppers and to combat the glut of proprietary graphics that, until now, have marked the front-of-pack trend.

Getting major brands to commit to a single labeling system is an accomplishment, no doubt. But there's one glitch: the program consists of two graphics, the SmartChoice symbol and a calorie-info graphic. Apparently, there’ll be some flexibility in requiring both symbols on packaging. But, unless brands are enacting significant redesigns, we're skeptical that two additional graphic elements on already-cluttered packs (see image) will simplify choice-healthy or not.