IOM Calls for Change in Front of Package Symbols

The proliferation of Front of Package (FOP) nutrition symbols is evident in Canada and the US. You may have seen check marks, stars and key icons just to name a few, and likely had to dig a bit deeper to understand what they mean. A report issued in October 2011 by the US based Institute of Medicine (IOM) concluded that it is time for a fundamental change, a shift in strategy for FOP symbols.  IOM recommends “a move away from complex or confusing FOP systems that do not give clear guidance about the healthfulness of a food or beverage and toward one that encourages healthier choices through simplicity, visual clarity, and the ability to convey  leaning without written information. The report recommends a simple FOP nutrition rating system that shows calories in household measures and points for the healthfulness of the product, enabling shoppers to instantly recognize healthier products by their number of points and calorie information.”  Stay tuned for more as this important area of on-pack nutrition communication evolves.