Spartan Moves Nutrition “Facts up Front” on Private Brand

Nutrition labeling traditionally is typically relegated to fine print on the back of a package.

Now, it will be big print on the front on new food packaging of Spartan Private Brand products.

The store brand is carried by nearly 100 Spartan Stores-owned groceries — D&W Fresh Market and Family Fare in West Michigan, VG’s in southeast Michigan and Glen’s Market in northern Michigan — and 375 independent grocers in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio that are supplied by Spartan.

The packaging is in line with health and wellness initiatives introduced by first lady Michelle Obama and, more recently, Gov. Rick Snyder. It also reflects what is happening in the industry.

The Byron Township-based grocer is one of the first retailers in the country to adopt the Facts Up Front Nutrition Labeling, a voluntary labeling system designed by the Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers Association.

The two organizations are behind a $50 million Facts Up Front consumer education campaign that will launch in early 2012, when consumers will see the new icons on a majority of products in the marketplace.

The goal of the voluntary program is to provide essential nutrition information at a glance, said Alan Hartline, executive vice president of merchandising and marketing. That is important since FMI research indicates 75 percent of all shoppers consider health and wellness when they shop.

“This is the way we are distinguishing our brands from the national brands,” Hartline said.

Last year, Spartan added 300 new products and will another 300 in this fiscal year. The new eye-catching guide highlights calories, saturated fat, sodium and sugar per serving, the daily value percentages for saturated fat and sodium, plus up to two icons showing what additional nutrients might be in the product, such as fiber, protein, calcium and vitamins.

The new packaging will be integrated over the next year, with full implementation planned for no later than January 2013.

For now, a handful of products, including frozen chicken and baked beans, have the nutrition labeling on the top right of the packaging. Fresh Selection Salads and Spartan canned fruit will soon be added to that list.

The program complements color-coded shelf tags the grocer introduced in 2009 that identify six nutrient attributes, based on standards set by the Food & Drug Administration. That system is now being adopted by Spartan Stores’ wholesale customers such as Forrest Hills Foods and Leppinks Food Centers.

Source: The Grand Rapids Press

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.