the Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers Association, is making a difference with transparency by allowing consumers to scan a code on food or
beverage packaging, which provides detailed information such as allergens, sourcing practices, sustainability
and third-party certifications.
Physical labels can hold only so much information,
Howell says, so this allows consumers to see the big picture. By the end of 2018, 826 brands had participated
with SmartLabel on more than 36,000 products.
Some retailers are already providing expanded
information. ShopRite has a dedicated web
page for its Wholesome Pantry line, which
lists all ingredients it has removed from
these products, while Kroger details the
more than 50 “no-no” ingredients on its Simple Truth brand’s website.
There are more than 50
ingredients not allowed
to be included in Kroger’s
Simple Truth products.
Coborn’s, based in St. Cloud, Minn., also
West Valley City, Utah-based Harmons
uses a Dietitian’s Choice shelf labeling program that highlights products not containing certain ingredients, including nitrites,
nitrates and partially hydrogenated oil.
has a shelf-labeling program, Food Facts, in its 31 stores.
It’s a tag on the cleaner items, and the goal is to provide
“an easy way for consumers to make choices,” says
Emily Parent, one of the stores’ three dietitians. Each
tag features up to three attributes after the Dietitian’s
Choice logo, such as gluten-free, low-sodium, whole-grain, local, organic and heart-healthy. “These foods
tend to be all clean label,” she says.
And through its Shelf Guide program, West Sacramento, Calif.-based Raley’s uses a Clean Label icon to
call out ingredients that are not allowed, per its official
“banned ingredient list.”
Most retailers, Howell points out, “can do
a better job of informing consumers. They
should use initiatives like SmartLabel, or
make it clear how consumers can find information as soon as they walk into a store, or
make it very visible on their website.”
And they should do it soon, he cautions:
“As a consumer, I’d be very skeptical if I was
shopping with one retailer who provided the
information and another one didn’t. You’d ask
what they’re hiding.”
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF KROGER
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