Maybe they’re trying to get a mention in the State of the Union: first Walmart said it would get on board with Michelle Obama to begin an effort to provide consumers with healthier and more affordable food choices, then the Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers’ Association launched “Nutrition Keys” — a labeling system to let consumers more easily see a few key indicators of how good a product might be for them.
There are four basic icons on each box: calories, saturated fat, sodium and sugars. Each represent key nutrients for which dietary guidance recommend limiting consumption in the diet. On small packages — like beverages — only one might be used, like calories.
For products with the space and ingredients, Nutrition Keys also allows for some tooting-your-own-horn kind of stuff, as under the guidelines packages can also include up to two “nutrients to encourage”: potassium, fiber, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium or iron. They can only be put on the package if one serving has more than 10 percent RDA and meets the FDA’s “good source” nutrient content claims.