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Smart Choices Program postpones active operations

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON The Smart Choices Program announced Friday that it would voluntarily postpone active operations and not encourage wider use of the logo at this time by either new or currently-enrolled companies.

This move follows an announcement by FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg on Oct. 20, which said that the agency intends to develop standardized criteria on which future front-of-package nutrition or shelf labeling will be based. In a letter captioned, “Guidance for Industry” and posted on its Web site, the FDA stated: “We want to work with the food industry retailers and manufacturers alike as well as nutrition and design experts and the Institute of Medicine, to develop an optimal, common approach to nutrition-related FOP… that all Americans can trust and use to build better diets and improve their health.”

The Smart Choices Program was developed, in part, to respond to earlier governmental calls for a more uniform, voluntary, front-of-package labeling program. The program was developed during an open and lengthy collaborative process by a diverse coalition of scientists, nutritionists, public health and public interest organizations and food industry leaders. The program’s nutritional criteria are based on the U.S. government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the labels comply with all U.S. laws and regulations.

The Smart Choices Program will also continue to work with those who have an interest in front-of-package labeling.

“Our nutrition criteria are based on sound, consensus science,” said Mike Hughes, chair, Smart Choices Program and VP for science and public policy at the Keystone Center. “But with the FDA’s announcement this week that they will be addressing both on front-of- package and on-shelf systems, and that uniform criteria may follow, it is more appropriate to postpone active operations and channel our information and learnings to the agency to support their initiative. The Smart Choices Program stands ready to work with and support the FDA, US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Institute of Medicine in this effort.”

For additional information on the Smart Choices Program, visit www.smartchoicesprogram.com.

KelloggsDRSNhttp://www.centerstoregrowth.com

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Crystal Light rolls out new eco-friendly packaging

BY Drug Store News Team

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. Crystal Light has unveiled a new, more environmentally and user-friendly look.

The new Crystal Light packaging features easy-to-open packets, a new 1-qt. packet size in the 8-qt. canister that helps people prepare the amount they want and a clear window on the front of the canister that shows when packets are running low. On a finished case goods basis, the new design will use 250 tons less packaging each year.

“Women look to Crystal Light to add some excitement to their water every day,” said Roxanne Bernstein, director of powdered beverages. “Our new packaging also reflects our consumers’ vibrancy and her desire to align herself with more environmentally friendly brands.”

The new Crystal Light is available nationwide at $3.29 SRP for the 8-qt. size and $4.59 for the 10- or 12-qt. size. More information on the entire line of products is available at www.CrystalLight.com.

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Snyder’s of Hanover looking to acquire Utz

BY Antoinette Alexander

HANOVER, Pa. Snyder’s of Hanover, which produces pretzels under it Snyder’s of Hanover brand and owns Krunchers! Kettle Chips, O-KE-DOKE popcorn and Jays Potato Chips, is looking to expand its portfolio by acquiring Utz Quality Foods.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition is subject to review and clearance by the Federal Trade Commission and the parties expect to close the deal as soon as possible following FTC clearance. 

Utz Quality Foods is known for its line of potato chips and also produces a natural line of potato chips, pretzels, tortilla chips, multi-grain sunflower chips, cheese curls and popcorn. It produces its snack foods in its four Hanover-based manufacturing facilities and employs more than 2,200 workers. Its brands are distributed primarily throughout the East Coast.

Snyder’s of Hanover has stated that it plans to continue to operate the four Utz plants, plus the Snyder’s of Hanover plant, and no job losses are expected. 

In addition, Mike Rice, Utz chairman and CEO, will serve as a director on the Snyder’s of Hanover board. 

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