Less than 24 hours after the First Lady Michelle Obama unveilled the proposed changes to the nutrition panel, FoodEssentials, a start up out of Saint Louis Missouri, has released a live view in to how the new panel looks with live data.
Leveraging a vast live product database, FoodEssentials has modeled the proposed changes and produced a browsable site that shows how each individual product will look considering the proposed changes. "We're dedicated to transparency in product data" states Anton Xavier, CEO and co-founder of FoodEssentials. "And so, if we can use our data to help inform the discussion about food label reform then we're doing our job well".
The New Label website, showcases all of the products that FoodEssentials has in their live database, but reformated to highlight where products will have further work to do to meet the proposals, as well as drawing attention to products that will need minimal change. The proposed mandatory inclusion of added sugar, vitamin D and potassium are where some manufacturers will need to generate fresh data. The FoodEssentials database shows that many products already have a lot of this data presently available on their labels. However, the FoodEssentials new label website, highlights which products have added sugar in the ingredient panel and will require an added sugar value to be calculated. Those products without added sugar will be able to by pass this requirement.
FoodEssentials, arrived in the US in 2008, after the co-founders' father fell sick and found it challenging to find products to meet his new dietary requirements. "The idea for FoodEssentials came from our need to help our dad find better foods" states Dagan Xavier, Director of Content, co-founder, and younger brother to Anton Xavier. "If we can now use our expertise to help the wider community, then we're heading in the right direction". And that direction, by all accounts, is very exciting.
After closing a contract with the FDA in 2010 FoodEssentials has not looked back. They are now a venture backed start up with significant sales derived from licensing their platform and technology to Government, Retailers, and Food Manufacturers. In addition, they have remained true to their roots and made the data available via a free public API that powers data delivered to over 15 million shoppers a month. And now, again they volunteer their data and expertise to the community to help serve a cause - transparency in product data. "Our mission is to make vast amounts of food label data accessible and simple to analyze for government, retailers, brands, developers, and ultimately the shopper in the store", concludes Anton Xavier.
You can view the proposed new label live database at this website, and use the browsable category drop down menu to browse through the 1300 product categories.