TABLE 3-1 Timeline of Selected Activities Related to Front-of-Package Nutrition Rating Systems and Symbols




  • AHA launches Heart Guide initiative


  • Sweden’s National Food Administration creates Keyhole symbol


  • New Zealand Heart Foundation creates Tick Programme


  • Study on shelf-tags shows market shares of shelf-tagged products increases (Schucker et al., 1992)


  • FDA and USDA publish final rules defining nutrient content claims and providing for health claims


  • AHA introduces Heart Check program


  • Canada’s Heart and Stroke Foundation introduces Health Check program


  • Wegmans creates Wellness Keys


  • PepsiCo introduces Smart Spot

  • General Mills introduces Goodness Corner

  • FDA introduces Calories Count: Report of the Working Group on Obesity


  • Whole Grains stamp is launched

  • FDA publishes an advance notice of proposed rulemaking requesting comments on displaying calories more prominently on food packaging

  • Kraft Foods introduces Sensible Solution

  • Heart Check adds an additional certification: whole grains with moderate fat content

  • President’s Choice launches Blue Menu to designate its healthier products

  • Naturally Nutrient Rich score introduced (precursor to NRFI)


  • CSPI petitions FDA to develop a simple, uniform, science-based rating system

  • Harris Teeter introduces Wellness Keys

  • Hannaford introduces Guiding Stars

  • Confederation of the EU (CIAA) commits to voluntary nutrition labeling scheme across EU member states


  • Unilever introduces Choices program

  • U.K. Food Standards Agency implements Traffic Light system

  • Kellogg’s introduces Nutrition-at-a-Glance

  • General Mills implements Nutrition Highlights to replace Goodness Corner

  • Keystone Food and Nutrition Roundtable studies the various FOP systems in the United States

  • FDA public hearing on front-of-package and other nutrition symbols

  • NuVal system is developed


  • ConAgra introduces Start Making Choices symbol using MyPyramid

  • Smart Choices program is developed

  • Mars International launches Guideline Daily Amount (GDA) labeling of its foods and snacks in the United States

  • Nutrient Rich Food Index articles are published in the scientific literature


  • Healthy Ideas is launched at Giant Foods and Stop & Shop supermarkets

  • Sara Lee introduces Nutritional Spotlight; similar to recent efforts by Mars and Kellogg’s

  • FDA releases “Comments on Symbols Public Hearing and Current Plans for Addressing Issues,” from the 2007 hearing

  • Smart Choices is formally launched

  • FDA issues letter to Smart Choices

  • Most industry participants suspend use of Smart Choices; program is put on hold

  • FDA designs and begins to implement a plan to conduct research on FOP nutrition rating systems and symbols

  • Institute of Medicine Nutrition Rating Systems and Symbols committee is formed


  • FDA requests comments and data on front-of-pack labeling

  • U.K. Food Standards Authority announces that Traffic Light system will not be mandatory

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