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Don’t Understand Nutrition Labels? The Food Industry Is Working On New Labeling Methods To Benefit Consumers!

March 25, 2013

When you’re at the grocery store do you take the extra time to read the nutrition label on the items you’re loading into your cart?

It’s quite common that consumers going to the grocery store are trying to fit that time into an already busy day. Some consumers have small children or large families to buy for. Cautiously walking through each isle and reading the nutrition labels, which are mostly located on the back of each item, isn’t always the first thing on each consumers list.

Let’s face it, as a country we’re battling an epidemic known as obesity. It’s because of this epidemic that our country and local grocery stores have started to looking into alternative ways to help consumers become more knowledgeable of the items their putting into their bodies.

What’s the point of going to the gym and getting a great workout in if you’re loading your body with fatty foods when you get home. Most individuals don’t have time to worry about the percentages and serving sizes of the meals they’re preparing or purchasing from restaurants.

Recently we’ve seen a change in the way businesses label their food items. A few of these methods include:

  1. Stop Light Labeling
  2. Facts Up Front Labels
  3. Restaurants Labeling Their Menus

The first labeling method is called stop light labeling. This labeling method is easy to spot, easy to understand and can help consumers keep their pace when grocery shopping. Think of a basic stoplight. Green means go, yellow means yield and red means stop. Children play the stop light game in school, we’ve associated green with good and red with bad since we were children. In the labeling method, green is associated with healthier choices. These foods are low in fat and sugars but high in protein and nutrients.

Yellow is associated with foods that are on the boarder of being both good and bad. These foods may have mild sugars and calories but decent amounts of nutrients. These foods should be eaten periodically.

Finally, red is associated with foods that are bad for you. Think of soda with massive amounts of caffeine and sugar. These foods are labeled red because consumers should approach eating these substances with caution.

The second labeling method is called, facts up front. This method makes shopping a little easier, but still requires the basic understanding and knowledge of how to read a basic nutrition label, which isn’t always easy! The basic, most important facts from the full nutrition label, are now located on the front of products. Some cereal manufacturers have already started using this new method of labeling. They list the calories, sugar count and nutrients on the front of the box. It’s easy to glance and compare competing products without holding two boxes, a calculator and keeping track of your children!

Another method being used to fight obesity is restaurants labeling their menus. Some restaurants have recently come out with health friendly menus and drinks. But, some restaurants are taking things even further. Some restaurants label their menus to show how many points an item is for consumers using Weight Watchers. Other menus label the calories for each item in the menu so consumers can still make an educated choice while out to dinner with their family and friends.

These methods may not seem like much, but labeling products in a way that is easier to see and understand for the consumer is only the start in the fight against obesity.

Have you ever seen stop light labels, facts up front or restaurant menus that label their healthy food options? Share your stories and experiences on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

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