Unilever Labels Foods As Healthy 'Choices'

It's getting easier to spot healthier foods in U.S. supermarkets.

This fall, Unilever US is launching a food-labeling program it hopes will get picked up by marketers around the world, and cause its products to be picked up by more shoppers.

Unilever is putting a bright blue "Choices" nutritional label on one-third of its food brands. The goal: to steer consumers toward food and drinks that meet U.S. dietary guidelines for today's "nutrients of concern"--trans fat, saturated fat, sodium and added sugars.

The Choices logo includes a blue circle with a blue "tick" and a golden sun rising over it. The words "Eat Smart" or "Drink Smart" are printed above the logo, with "Based on U.S. Dietary Guidelines" on the bottom.

Brands receiving the front-of-package logo will include Ragu, Slim-Fast Optima, Slim-Fast Optima Bonus, Promise, Take Control, Skippy, Lipton Tea, Hellmann's/Best Food, and Bertolli Olive Oil. In the U.S., Unilever is limiting the use of the Choices logo to products that have fewer than 60 mg of cholesterol per serving, to be consistent with Food & Drug Administration guidelines. The new design will begin this fall, and will continue to roll out next year.



"Unilever recognizes consumers are looking for 'better-for-you' choices but are easily confused. With (the Choices label), we've taken the guidelines for healthy diets and translated them into product-specific benchmarks to help make the healthy choice an easy choice," says Doug Balentine, Director, Unilever Nutrition and Health North America.

Last January, the FDA began requiring food marketers to include trans fat and cholesterol levels on product labels. Research indicates that American consumers are more aware of the dangers of trans fats in their diets, but are confused--or negligent--about how to control their intake of them.

According to the NPD Group, 94 percent of American adults are aware of trans fats, and 73 percent are concerned about the ingredient. But the study found that many people still do not understand the basics of trans fats in foods.

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