Unilever United States launches new Choices program
Front-Of-pack nutritional logo delivers benchmarks based on U.S. guidelines to help reduce intake of trans fat, saturated fat, sodium and added sugars.
Englewood Cliffs, NJ - Unilever United States announced today the introduction of a front-of-pack nutritional logo program called ChoicesTM. The new logo, which will start appearing on products this fall, provides a quick, simple way for consumers to identify food and drinks based on four major "nutrients of concern"—trans fat, saturated fat, sodium and added sugars.
Over one-third of Unilever’s foods portfolio in the U.S. will qualify for the logo under brands such as Ragu, Slim-Fast, Lipton, Skippy, Promise, Hellmann's and Bertolli. The program is being unveiled at the American Dietetic Association's Annual Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo in Honolulu, Hawaii.
"Our goal is to help consumers everywhere achieve nutritional balance within their energy needs to help them live vital and healthy lives," said Mike Polk, president, Unilever U.S. "As a leading global foods manufacturer, Unilever wants to find ways to help make healthier choices easier for consumers – without compromising on taste, product quality or convenience. We achieve this by improving the nutritional quality of our products and by informing consumers of healthier food choices."
In order to qualify for the logo Unilever products must meet strict nutrition criteria on all 4 nutrients – trans fat, saturated fat, sodium and sugar - set by Unilever's global Nutrition Enhancement Program (NEP), a product benchmark program based on 20 different sets of dietary guidelines from worldwide health organizations, including the dietary guidelines in the United States. On top of that, in the U.S. Unilever also limits the use of the Choices logo to those products that have less than 60 mg of cholesterol per serving, to be consistent with FDA guidelines.
"With ChoicesTM, consumers have a nutritional stamp they can trust—one grounded in solid research and based on U.S. Dietary Guidelines. We now have a set of streamlined recommendations for how packaged food can fit into a healthy diet, and that's great news for consumers," said Doug Balentine, Director, Unilever Nutrition and Health North America. "Unilever recognizes that consumers are looking for 'better-for-you' choices but are easily confused. With the Nutrition Education Program, we've taken the guidelines for healthy diets and translated them into product-specific benchmarks to help make the healthy choice an easy choice."
The ChoicesTM logo consists of a blue circle featuring a big blue "tick" and a golden sun rising over it, signifying vitality. The words Eat Smart” or "Drink Smart" in bold letters on the top, and the words "Based on U.S. Dietary Guidelines" on the bottom, accompany the symbol.
The logo will be supplemented by more in-depth on-pack text, with general dietary guidance and other nutritional information about why a particular product is a healthy choice. The text is designed to complement the nutrition facts panels, as well as other health-related information provided on packages. Additional details will be available on individual brand web sites and through customer call-in phone lines.
The Nutrition Enhancement Program was established in 2002 to assess and enhance the nutritional composition of the Unilever's global food portfolio, and to date has had a significant impact on the company's food and beverage products. In 2005 through 2006, it is estimated that Unilever will have eliminated the following from its global food and beverage portfolio:
- 15 000 tons of trans fat
- 10 000 tons of saturated fat
- 2 000 tons of sodium
- 10 000 tons of sugars
The creation of the ChoicesTM logo followed extensive consumer research, with the results indicating that a simple logo – rather than a more complicated system – would work as well (or better) in encouraging consumers to make healthier choices.
Unilever brands scheduled to receive the ChoicesTM stamp in 2006 and 2007 include Ragu, Slim-Fast Optima, Slim-Fast Optima Bonus, Promise, Take Control, Skippy, Lipton Tea, Hellmann’s/Best Food, and Bertolli Olive Oil.
ChoicesTM is a cornerstone of Unilever's mission to "add vitality to life" by seeking to meet everyday needs for nutrition, hygiene and personal care. The mission is supported by exhaustive social and economic development research, and seeks to address consumer's needs in the health and nutrition area.
Unilever [NYSE: UL, UN], one of the world's largest consumer products companies, aims to add vitality to life by meeting everyday needs for nutrition, hygiene and personal care. Each day, around the world, consumers make 150 million decisions to purchase Unilever products. The company has a portfolio of brands that make people feel good, look good and get more out of life.
In the United States these brands include recognized names such as: Axe, "all", Ben & Jerry's, Bertolli, Breyers, Caress, Country Crock, Degree, Dove personal care products, Hellmann's, Lipton, Knorr, Popsicle, Promise, Q-Tips, Skippy, Slim-Fast, Snuggle, Suave, Sunsilk and Vaseline. All of the preceding brand names are registered trademarks of the Unilever Group of Companies. Dedicated to serving consumers and the communities where we live, work and play, Unilever in the United States employs more than 15 000 people in 66 office and manufacturing sites in 24 states and Puerto Rico – generating approximately $9 billion in sales in 2005.
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