Collaborating with others on nutrition literacy
World wide initiatives
The Health Star Rating System
This initiative was developed in partnership with the Governments of Australia and New Zealand, industry, public health and consumer groups. This front-of-pack labelling system rates the overall nutritional profile of packaged foods and assigns it a rating from ½ a star to five stars, providing a quick, easy and standard way to compare similar packaged foods. In June 2014, the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation (Forum) agreed that the Health Star Rating (HSR) system should be implemented voluntarily over five years with a review of progress on implementation after two years.
The progress report issued in April 2017, indicates that there has been significant uptake of the Health Star Rating (HSR) system by the food industry. In Australia, at the end of Year 2, 2,031 products displayed the HSR system (compared to 363 in Year 1); the system was displayed across more than twice as many food categories as in Year 1; and implemented by nearly three times the number of manufacturers. A similar pattern was seen in New Zealand supermarkets. Communications campaigns developed to support implementation of the system in Australia generated significant increases in awareness of the system by consumers, exceeding levels of awareness of the mandatory nutrition information panel and all other nutrition logos or labelling except for the longstanding Heart Foundation Tick.
Informed Dining Program
Informed Dining is a voluntary nutrition information program that was developed in partnership with the Government of British Columbia, Restaurants Canada, the B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of B.C. and the Yukon. The programme makes comprehensive and easy-to-understand information available to consumers when they eat in restaurants.
Participating restaurants provide information about the foods they serve – calorie and sodium detail is highlighted along with information on daily calorie and sodium guidelines. McDonald’s Canada was one of the first restaurant chains to implement a national rollout of the program in the more than 1,400 McDonald’s locations across the country. Informed Dining marks the continued evolution of McDonald’s Canada’s longstanding commitment to provide customers with information and builds on existing initiatives like its online Nutrition Centre and mobile application.
The Nutrition Facts Education Campaign
In support of the Government of Canada’s ongoing commitment to promote healthy eating by helping Canadians make more informed nutrition choices, industry, including IFBA members partnered with Health Canada in the fall of 2010 to launch the “Nutrition Facts Education partnered with Health Canada in the fall of 2010 to launch the “Nutrition Facts Education Campaign” (NFEC).
This multi-media campaign focused on increasing consumer awareness and use of the “% Daily Vale”, a component of the Nutrition Facts table. In early 2015, the industry again partnered with the government to launch the second phase of NFEC – “Focus on the Facts.” The campaign encourages consumers – especially parents of children aged 2 to 12 – to use the “Serving Size” in the Nutrition Facts table to compare similar foods. Since 2010, the “% Daily Value” messaging has appeared on more than one billion products units in stores across Canada and the NFEC has achieved 160 million media impressions.
The Choices Programme
Introduced in 2006 in The Netherlands in response to the WHO’s call for the food industry to take an active role in helping to tackle the growing problem of obesity and diet-related diseases around the world. The programme is a unique multistakeholder initiative designed to help consumers easily identify healthy food options and stimulate the food industry to improve their products. The Choices nutrition criteria are based on international dietary guidelines from the WHO, are categoryspecific and take into account levels of saturated and trans fats, added sugar and salt, and in some categories, dietary fibre or energy. The criteria must be based on sound, scientific evidence, easy to implement and applicable anywhere in the world.
They serve as a blueprint for national criteria and are periodically reviewed by the independent International Scientific Committee, while the national scientific committees evaluate applicability in a specific country. The programme focuses on three points of action to promote healthy choices :
- Implement front-of-pack labelling – facilitate use of the Choices logo or comparable positive frontof-pack labels to help consumers identify the healthy choice at a glance.
- Stimulate formulation of products and portfolios.
- Encourage healthy product promotion. At the end of 2016, the programme was operating in the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland and the Czech Republic and had established a successful cooperation with a number of other European and Asian countries. The Choices logo can be found on over 8,000 food and beverage products from more than 130 companies.
Led by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), SmartLabel is a voluntary initiative that enables consumers to have easy and instantaneous access digitally on smartphones to extensive product details while shopping. Consumers can access SmartLabel data on smartlabel.org, through participating brand websites or by scanning a SmartLabel quick response (QR) code if printed on packages.
The label enables brands to provide more information to consumers than is available on product packaging. The SmartLabel mobile page view provides nutrition information in addition to listing ingredients, nutrition facts, nutritional benefits, allergens etc. At the end of 2016, 21 companies, including IFBA members had begun using the SmartLabel tool.