Facts Up Front Front-of-Pack Labeling Initiative

Facts Up Front Front-of-Pack Labeling Initiative

In 2010, First Lady Michelle Obama asked industry to develop a front-of-pack labeling system that could be widely adopted on food packages and that would help busy consumers - especially parents - make informed decisions when they shop.  In response, America’s food and beverage manufacturers and retailers have joined forces to develop and implement Facts Up Front (formerly called Nutrition Keys), an unprecedented voluntary front-of-pack nutrition labeling system that will provide nutrition information on the front of food and beverage packages, including calories and three “nutrients to limit.”

Facts Up Front is a fact-based approach that summarizes important nutrition information from the Nutrition Facts Panel in a clear, simple and easy-to-use format on the front of food and beverage packages.  The new icon and label changes adhere to current U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines and regulations, ensuring that consumers receive consistent and reliable information. The icon will inform consumers about how the key nutrients in each product fit in a balanced and healthy diet as part of the federal government’s daily dietary advice.

The four basic icons, for calories, saturated fat, sodium and sugars, represent key nutrients for which dietary guidance recommend limiting consumption in the diet.  The four basic icons are always presented together as a consistent set:


On small food packages, one icon may be used, representing calories in a serving of the food.  This is an option for food manufacturers, recognizing that small food packages may not have enough space to accommodate the four Basic Icons.  This labeling system will complement the Clear on Calories labeling system developed by the American Beverage Association.


As an option, certain labels could include “nutrients to encourage” – nutrients needed to build a “nutrient-dense” diet.   In addition to the basic four icons, packages may include up to two “nutrients to encourage”: potassium, fiber, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, calcium and iron.  All of these are either shortfall nutrients or are required to be on the nutrition facts panel.   These “nutrients to encourage” can only be placed on a package if the product has more than 10 percent of the daily value per serving of the nutrient and meets the FDA requirements for a “good source” nutrient content claim.

The GMA-FMI front-of-package labeling system will make the FOP icons graphically distinct from other nutrition-related claims on front-of-pack.

In March 2014, GMA and FMI launched a national education campaign to bolster awareness and understanding of Facts Up Front among consumers, and moms in particular, as they are the primary grocery shopping decision makers in most households. 

The campaign concluded in October 2014 and left us with strong results. A few highlights include:

  • 1.3 billion impressions from print advertising, including 510 million impressions among moms with children under 18
  • 714 million impressions and 3.25 million clicks as a result of digital and search campaign
  • Significant traffic driven to the Facts Up Front website, which averaged 219,000 visits and 472,000 page views per month.

The consumer tracking surveys show that consumers, especially moms, found Facts Up Front to be credible and useful. The surveys found statistically significant increases in overall consumer awareness of Facts Up Front, doubling to 42 percent from the 21 percent in the benchmark survey. Use of Facts Up Front has risen since the benchmark survey, with moms now significantly more likely to look at the label, compare products and choose ingredients for a recipe.

In fact, the research showed that most moms who are aware of Facts Up Front rate it higher in believability that the Nutrition Facts Panel.

Facts Up Front, the innovative front-of-pack nutrition labeling initiative of the food industry, was showcased on Lifetime’s The Balancing Act, featuring registered dietitian, Kimberly Kirchherr. The 5-minute segment provided an overview of Facts Up Front and explained how it can become a part of any shopper’s food-buying routine. The segment gives viewers a simple, easy to follow explanation of what Facts Up Front is, why it is beneficial and how it can become a part of their shopping and cooking efforts. 

Related Resources

Related Committees

Nutrition, Health and Labeling Committee

Contact: factsupfront@gmaonline.org