MILWAUKEE - The nation's dietitians, foodmakers and retailers want you to know how many calories are in that frozen pizza you devoured last night - and they don't want you to have to go looking for it.
Amid widespread concern about obesity rates, eating habits and exercise patterns, they say they'll help people make better choices by designating thousands of products as part of the new Smart Choices Program and adding nutritional information to the front of packages.
The labels, featuring calories per serving and number of servings, will likely be on products starting next year, organizers say.
The goal of the program, to be unveiled Monday at the American Dietetic Association's Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo, is to get people to make smarter food choices and thus improve public health.
The labels will have two parts. First, there will be a green check mark and the "Smart Choices Program" label for foods that meet certain nutritional requirements within some categories. The other part highlights the calories per serving and the servings per container.
To meet the guidelines, products can't exceed standards for items like total fat, saturated fat, added sugars or sodium. They also have to have "nutrients to encourage" - such as calcium, fiber and potassium - or "food groups to encourage" - like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat or fat-free dairy.
Meeting those requirements gets them the check mark.
Even if a product doesn't meet the requirements now, the coalition hopes companies will strive to earn the label and reformulate the product.