ConAgra adopts voluntary labeling program to help improve nutrition

To help Americans make the food and beverage choices important to healthier living, ConAgra Foods will feature the Smart Choices Program logo, a labeling program unveiled at the American Dietetic Association's annual expo, on its products.

The Smart Choices Program symbol, to be shown on the front of food packages, identifies more nutritious choices within specific product categories as well as calories per serving and servings per container. ConAgra Foods products, including items such as Healthy Choice meals, Hunt's canned tomatoes, and Egg Beaters liquid eggs, will begin using the symbol winter 2009.

"At a time when consumers need to get more value than ever from their food dollars, we should keep in mind that good nutrition is an important component of value," said Gary Rodkin, ConAgra Foods CEO. "Making healthful choices every day could save Americans, and our country, significant money in the way of reduced healthcare costs related to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other conditions that have proven links to the food and beverage choices we make each day."

The Smart Choices Program was driven by consumer demand for a single, trusted and reliable front-of-pack nutrition labeling program that food manufacturers and retailers could voluntarily adopt to help consumers make more nutritious food and beverage choices that fit within their daily calorie needs.

The Smart Choices Program logo may only be used on products that meet science-based nutrition criteria including:

• Nutrients to limit: total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, added sugars and sodium

• Nutrients to encourage: calcium, potassium, fiber, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E

• Food groups to encourage: fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat or fat-free dairy

As a supporter of the program, ConAgra Foods will use the Smart Choices Program logo only on its branded products that meet the nutrition criteria. The criteria were derived from the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and other authoritative nutrition sources. ConAgra Foods anticipates that nearly 300 of its products will bear the new Smart Choices Program logo, including products like its Healthy Choice Asian-Inspired Cafe Steamers Sweet Sesame Chicken and Egg Beaters with Yolk.

"Since the launch of the Healthy Choice brand 20 years ago, ConAgra Foods has been committed to providing consumers with options that make putting a meal on the table healthful and convenient. By featuring the Smart Choices Program logo on our products, we believe consumers will have an added layer of convenience when they're looking for products that help them meet their health goals," said Patty Packard, MS, RD, ConAgra Foods director of nutrition. "Moreover, at a time when consumers need to get more value than ever from their food dollars, getting good nutrition from their food choices also becomes more important than ever."
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