GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Oct. 11, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Spartan Stores announced today that its Spartan brand packaging will now include front of the packaging nutrition icons making the company one of the first retailers in the nation to do so. The new labels support the voluntary Facts Up Front nutrition labeling system designed by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and the Grocery Manufacturing Association (GMA).
Spartan Stores has voluntarily placed the Facts Up Front nutrition icons on the front of products to highlight calories, saturated fat, sodium and sugar per serving, the daily value percentages for saturated fat and sodium, plus up to two icons showing "nutrients to be encouraged," such as fiber, protein, calcium and vitamins. Facts Up Front is designed to help busy consumers – especially parents – make informed decisions when they shop. Spartan Stores was in the process of redesigning more than 2,000 Spartan brand labels in January 2011 when the GMA and FMI Boards of Directors – which together represent more than 80 percent of packaged food and beverage sales in the U.S. – unanimously endorsed the Facts Up Front (formerly known as Nutrition Keys) initiative. The $50 million dollar Facts Up Front consumer education campaign will launch in early 2012, when consumers will see the new icons on a majority of products in the marketplace. In anticipation, GMA and FMI also launched a new Facts Up Front web site -- www.factsupfront.org .
According to Alan Hartline, Spartan Stores Executive Vice President Merchandising and Marketing, "Spartan Stores is committed to providing its D&W Fresh Market, Family Fare, Glen's, VG's, and 375 independent Spartan Stores' customers with easy to read and understand nutrition labeling on more than 2,000 Spartan brand products. This is a tremendous voluntary undertaking, but we believe our customers will appreciate the Facts Up Front labeling as they can help them quickly make healthier decisions on food and beverage choices. We wanted to get the labels on products as quickly as possible." Roll out of the Facts Up Front new labeling system is already on the following product categories:
- Spartan Frozen Chicken - in stores now
- Spartan Baked Beans – in stores now
- Fresh Selections Salads- will be among one of the first categories to have the Facts Up Front
- Spartan Canned Fruit- coming soon
- Completed on all Spartan Private Brand and Spartan Fresh Selections packaging by January 2013
- The color-coded Nutrition Guide Shelf Tags for 16,000 products (launched in 2009). The Nutrition Guide covers name brand as well as private brand products and identifies low fat (orange label), low sodium (tan), high fiber (teal blue), Gluten free (green), sugar free (purple), and low calorie (yellow) categories supported by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The easy to use system relies on color-coding so persons of any age, education level and language can quickly identify food attributes that are important to them, like low fat, low sodium and high fiber for a heart friendly choice for healthy meal planning.
- Free health screenings and clinics in pharmacies statewide throughout the year focusing on health concerns such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, and gluten free diets
- Free and low cost antibiotics, prenatal vitamins, and diabetic medications in addition to $4/30 day and $10/90 day generics
- On-site pharmacy consultations with area business partners to help employees and their dependents better manage their diabetes and asthma, thereby improving their health and reducing healthcare expenses and lost work days
- Participation in statewide community health fairs
- Healthy cooking classes offered through the Culinary Classroom
- Providing healthy snacks to students at schools where Spartan Stores employees volunteer and mentor throughout the year
- Spartan Stores created the MICHIGAN'S BEST program in July of 2009 as a means to pay tribute to Michigan farmers and businesses and help residents identify Michigan made products. The initial campaign promoted 2,400 products grown and produced by 42 businesses and farms in Michigan and emphasized that buying Michigan made products is a simple – and healthy – way to boost the state's economy.
- Underwriting the Spartan Stores YMCA in Wyoming, Michigan and partnering on health and wellness programs and events throughout the state
- Underwriting the Metro Health Spartan Childbirth Center and providing new parents with complimentary gift bags full of baby care products
- Serving as the Title Sponsor of the Special Olympics State Games and creating an opportunity for thousands of special need athletes who can participate in active lifestyles and sponsors Spartan Stores Healthy Athlete of the Year
- Spartan Stores Associates receive a comprehensive benefits package including: Profit Sharing Contributions, 401(k) Retirement Plan with Company Match, Health Care Insurance, Life Insurance, Disability Plan, Vacation, Holidays, Bonus Days & Personal Days, Flexible Spending Account, Associate Discount, Employee Assistance Program and Tuition Reimbursement.
- Spartan Brand Facts Up Front initiative supports Governor Rick Snyder recently announced health and wellness initiative for the residents of Michigan.