The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), Washington, D.C., launched the SmartLabel initiative, a push for labels with barcodes that scan to manufacturer’s websites and provide ingredient and sustainability information.

This new program, created by cold food processors and retailers, enables consumers to receive additional details about products by scanning a barcode or doing an online search to reach a landing page with information on ingredients and other attributes of a wide range of food and beverages, among other products.

"People want more information and are asking more questions about products they buy, use and consume, and SmartLabel puts detailed information right at their fingertips," says Pamela Bailey, president and CEO of GMA. "SmartLabel is a modern technology that will change how people shop and will help them get answers to questions they have on the products they purchase when they want that information."

SmartLabel provides information such as nutritionals, ingredients, allergens, third-party certifications, social compliance programs, usage instructions, advisories and safe handling instructions and company/brand information, along with other pertinent information about the product.

How it works is, each individual product in the SmartLabel program boasts a specific landing page containing detailed information from the manufacturer on ingredients and other product attributes. All SmartLabel landing pages are organized in a similar format, with a consistent look.

Consumers can scan a QR code on the package, conduct a web search, visit a participating company's website, or eventually go through the app to achieve SmartLabel information.

To date, more than 30 major companies have already committed to taking part in the transparency initiative, including ConAgra Foods, Hormel Foods, Campbell Soup Co., Land O'Lakes, Nestlé, J.M. Smucker Co., Kellogg Co., General Mills, Flowers Foods, Rich Products Corp., Tyson Foods, Inc., Ahold USA, The WhiteWave Foods Co. and Unilever, among others.

Consumers will be able to access SmartLabel as early as this year into early 2016. GMA projects nearly 30,000 total products will encompass the SmartLabel by the end of 2017.