ARLINGTON, VA — February 1, 2011 — The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) issued the following statement from President and Chief Executive Officer Leslie G. Sarasin on the announcement by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that the federal government will recommend Americans balance calories to manage weight, consume more healthy foods and reduce their intake of sodium, saturated fats and sugars. In addition, the guidelines encourage Americans to choose foods that contain nutrients needed to build a nutrient-dense diet.

“We believe the new federal government dietary guidelines will benefit Americans who are looking to make changes in their eating habits and improve their overall health.

Today’s supermarkets play an integral role in helping customers lead healthy lives by offering a wide variety of nutritious foods and providing health and wellness information through in-store dietitians, nutritionists, pharmacists, classes, and health screenings.

The Nutrition Keys initiative, a voluntary front-of-pack nutrition labeling system announced by FMI and the Grocery Manufacturers Association last week, will help shoppers implement the Dietary Guidelines by including information about sodium, saturated fat, calories and sugar on the front of food and beverage packages beginning later this year. The icon will inform consumers about how the nutrients in each product fit into a balanced and healthy diet as part of the new federal daily dietary guidelines, including up to two nutrients to encourage such as potassium, dietary fiber, calcium and vitamin D.”