Consumers are increasingly calling for more transparency and disclosure about food and beverages from manufacturers. No longer are we content to assume that manufacturers are looking out for our best interests with regards to the foods we eat. We need the facts about nutrition and ingredients in order to make informed decisions about our health.
Consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies are responding to these consumer needs and are rolling out a new platform, named SmartLabel, the will give shoppers more information about groceries. The new platform from the Grocery Maufacturers Association will allow shoppers to scan a QR code on packaging to access information about roughly 30,000 products ranging from laundry detergents, to candy, to cat food.
And, just in time for holiday snacking, the holiday packages of Hershey’s Kisses are the first products to include the SmartLabel QR code (with the call to action to “scan to learn what’s inside”). Information includes nutrition, allergens, third-party certifications, and other data that manufacturers may want to disclose such as GMOs and fair trade.
While there are no firm standards yet, this is certainly a step in the right direction for consumers and corporate social responsibility.
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
- Start with a discussion about transparency about food products. What are students’ concerns and experiences? What would they like to know about foods?
- Show videos: https://youtu.be/xImA400XQNA
- Have students review the SmartLabel Web site: http://smartlabel.org/
- Divide students into teams. Have each team review the information that is available about a product.
- What information is provided to consumers? What information might still be needed?