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One of the more heartening elements of the wellness movement has been the willingness of manufacturers to give up valuable real estate on the front of the package to nutrition information. Many of the current programs were developed by individual companies for their own products. But more and more, companies are using less subjective programs, including the newest one, Smart Choices.

Developed under the leadership of The Keystone Center, a non-profit organization, Smart Choices includes a symbol that identifies more nutritious choices and provides calories per serving and servings per container on front-of-pack, with the intent to help people stay within their daily calorie needs.

smart_choices.jpgAmong the manufcaturers already signed up are: Coca-Cola, ConAgra Foods, General Mills, the Kellogg Company, Kraft Foods, PepsiCo, Unilever and Wal-Mart. PepsiCo was one of the first big food makers to use its own nutrition icon, having developed the Smartspot for its beverages and foods in 2004 (let's see if Smart Choices can outsmart the Smartspot).

It's better for everyone whenever the industry can tout third-party certification. Shoppers are reassured corporations aren't bending the rules for their own benefit, and companies are to be commended for putting up their products for open scrutiny.

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