If you're like most Americans, chances are you turn to a product's nutrition label for guidance on whether or not it's good for you. A 2010 American Dietetic Association study (with over 10,000 participants) found that 61.6 percent of respondents regularly examined the Nutrition Facts Panel. And with 2011 marking the 20th anniversary of required nutrition labels on products, most of us have gotten pretty good at scanning the label to find out the calories, fat, sugar, and vitamin content in our favorite foods.
From Day 1, ShopWell has been about consumers. We talk to them, we invite them into our office to critique our site, we shop with them, we watch them use our site. From our conversations with real consumers, we are inspired to continue to march down the path of helping people understand nutrition information so they can make more informed choices.
At ShopWell, we are actually inspired both by the enthusiasm and the confusion of the shoppers we observe. The conversations with ShopWell users strengthen our belief that nutrition is truly personal, and we should be developing tools to help consumers understand nutrition for their unique needs.
When you look around, there is a ton of discussion around improving the information on the package. There are proposed improvements to the way the data is displayed on the front of the box, the back of the box, and even the side of box. And while we applaud the attempts of a variety of organizations to improve the information displayed on the box, we’re not sure that this will get to the heart of the problem-- that the typical approach to nutrition is one-size fits all.
Most people don’t know that the Nutrition Facts Panel is for an 18-year-old adult with a 2000 calorie diet. Hey, I didn’t even know that until recently…and I work at a food-related startup! Without even knowing it, this nutrition information is probably being misused by both your 30-year-old female neighbor and your 59-year-old male coworker. Hey, admit it, you are probably not getting everything out of the Nutrition Facts label that you could. I know I don’t.
At ShopWell, we believe that people should have access to Nutrition Facts that actually match their unique needs. We are super excited to release the first of its kind Personalized Nutrition Label. You give us your age, gender, height, weight, and activity level...and we will do all the math for you to give you a nutrition label that is tailored to you. And you can use the tool on any of the foods in our database to see how the nutrition info stacks up. Pretty cool. If the nutrition label is a one size fits all t-shirt, then we just released the first tailored suit.