Dr. Eileen Kennedy, dean of Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition, is still convinced the Smart Choices front of package nutrition label is a good move. Dr. Kennedy is the chairman of the Smart Choices Program which recommends Froot Loops and Snackables as Smart choices. Unlike the representatives American Dietetic Association and the American Diabetic Association that backed off the program, she is standing her ground.
In a letter to her alumni, Dr. Kennedy makes the case for Smart Choices by pointing to 3 advantages:
1. Smart Choices is intended to improve food patterns at point of purchase – the super markets.
2. The program was tested prior to launch with consumers.
3. food companies who participate in the program have agreed to abandon their proprietary systems and adopt one system – the Smart Choices Program.
Here’s why the logic is flawed, point by point:
1. Who said that Smart Choices will improve food purchase patterns? The only thing the program is guaranteed to improve is sales of products with the Smart Choices logo.
2. Testing and surveys can be crafted to get any answer the testers want.
3. The proprietary Smart Choices Program did away with PepsiCo’s SmartSpot and Kraft’s Sensible Solutions and created a unified system, but it’s not the only one out there. Several grocery chains have come out with their own systems, and then there’s NuVal too. So consumers are going to be just as confused as they have been before.
What to do at the supermarket:
Treat the Smart Choices, or any other claims and logos, as marketing speak. If you want to know about nutrition – look at the ingredient list and nutrition facts panel.
[Once again, hat tip to to Professor Marion Nestle's Food Politics Blog]
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