Smart Choice…NOT

ava-jeanpickering.jpgThere’s a new food label campaign called Smart Choices. Products which have been designated as “healthier” are marked with a green spot and a checkmark on the front of the package. The green checkmark label is showing up in supermarkets and is backed by most of ten largest food manufacturers. The label is intended to help shoppers easily identify smarter food and beverage choices.

Ava isn’t fooled by the Smart Spot, she knows a healthy food when she see’s one.

The Smart Spot is “designed to help shoppers easily identify smarter food and beverage choices.” Advertisers say, “When you choose a Smart Spot product, you’re making a sound decision. That’s because food and beverage products displaying the Smart Spot symbol meet nutrition criteria based on authoritative statements from the Food and Drug Administration and the National Academy of Sciences.”

What’s wrong with the food manufacturers making shopping easier for the health conscious? It would be wonderful if the green checkmark actually meant something. The checkmark is supposed to indicate a product is “better for you.” What exactly do they mean?

Froot Loops meets standards set by the Smart Choices Program for fiber and vitamins A and C. Froot Loops doesn’t exceed the limits set for fat, sodium, and sugar. The limit set for sugar is 12 grams or 4 teaspoons of sugar per serving. So Froot Loops gets a checkmark! What? Froot Loops weight is 41 percent sugar. Never mind that the vitamins A and C are synthetic and the cereal is loaded with artificial flavors and colors.

advisoryboard_v2_smartico_021.gifAs far as I’m concerned, the green checkmark is totally useless. Perhaps it’ll make some poor parent feel better when their children begin the day with sugar and chemicals, but it won’t help the kids at all. Ten companies have signed up so far for the Smart Choices Program, including ConAgra Foods, General Mills, Kelloggs, Kraft Foods, PepsiCo and Tyson Foods.

The Smart Spot is just another front of the package tease, which is designed to mislead. I think the Smart Choice is NOT to purchase any product with the green spot checkmark.

For a synopsis of Baby Bites: Transforming a Picky Eater into a Healthy Eater, Click Here.

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