BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal-Mart will “likely” adopt the Smart Choices front-of-pack labeling system for its private-label products next summer.
The retailer is part of a coalition of scientists, health organizations and CPG manufacturers that created the system under the leadership of the nonprofit Keystone Center.
“The expectation is that companies will replace their own program with this so consumers can use it across brands and companies,” said Brad Sperber, director of health and social policy at Keystone.
The symbol includes a green check mark, calories per serving and servings per container. In order to qualify for its use, items can't exceed limits on total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, added sugars and sodium, and, for most categories, must also provide positive attributes, such as calcium or fiber.
Kraft, Pepsi and Unilever will replace their existing systems with Smart Choices. General Mills will incorporate the new system with the existing front-of-package labels it uses on its cereals. Coca-Cola, ConAgra and Kellogg's are also likely implementers.
It's unclear how retailers might promote Smart Choices in-store. Wal-Mart's level of participation is yet to be determined, said spokeswoman Caren Epstein.
Sperber envisions signage, associate training and website messaging. Retailers with existing shelf-edge nutritional systems have expressed interest in Smart Choices, since it's “compatible with what they're already doing,” he said.