US food manufacturers including ConAgra Foods and General Mills are introducing front-of-pack labelling in a bid to give consumers more nutritional information about what they eat.

ConAgra and General Mills are among the companies to have signed up to the Smart Choices Program, a labelling scheme designed to give US consumers more information on the nutritional content of their food.

Products that meet nutritional guidelines will be allowed to use the Smart Choices Program symbol.

ConAgra said today (27 October) that it will begin using the Smart Choices Program symbol on products including its Healthy Choice meals and Hunt’s canned tomatoes next winter.

“At a time when consumers need to get more value than ever from their food dollars, we should keep in mind that good nutrition is an important component of value,” said ConAgra Foods CEO Gary Rodkin.

General Mills also signalled its commitment to the initiative by pledging to use the front-of-pack labels from next year.

“We believe that a single, credible system that is recognisable and uniform across categories will benefit consumers,” said Susan Crockett, vice president of General Mills Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition, and a member of the Smart Choices Plenary. “The new Smart Choices initiative harmonises and unifies various competing approaches, reducing potential confusion and making it easier for consumers to identify healthy food choices and compare calorie and serving information at-a-glance.”

Meanwhile, Unilever said it would be a “likely implementer” of the voluntary initiative. The company said it hoped the scheme would follow similar principles to its own Choices Programme.

“We hope that the Smart Choices Program, which follows the same driving principles as the Choices Programme, becomes the standard for FOP nutritional labelling in the United States,” said  Amanda Sourry, senior vice president and general manager for foods at Unilever US. “The end goal is that it will have a positive impact on the nutrition and eating habits of Americans, which could then benefit diet-related health.”