The green symbol was introduced in the US in July 2004, where it adorns the packaging of more than 100 PepsiCo brands including Tropicana, Gatorade, Baked! Lays, Quaker and Diet Pepsi.
In order to meet Canada's new nutrition labeling standards and make the Smart Spot criteria relevant to Canadian consumers who are, in general, more diet-conscious than their American cousins, the company worked in close collaboration with nutritionists.
"Consumers have told us they want simple, clear and positive information to help them identify and select food and beverage choices that contribute to healthier lifestyles, and the Smart Spot does just that," said Brock Leach, senior vice president of new growth platforms and chief innovation officer.
The Smart Spot criteria place limits on the amounts of fat (saturated and trans fats), cholesterol, sodium and added sugar that can be contained in a product bearing the symbol.
The symbol also draws attention to products that are made with reduced fat, calories or sugar, have specific health or wellness benefits or are fortified with known wholesome ingredients.
Full details on how each product earned its Smart Spot spurs are available on SmartSpot.ca .
The company says that these products can "contribute to healthier lifestyles", however this statement may lead to consumer confusion. While Smart Spot products may be healthier than other snack foods where calories, fats, sugar and salt are not reduced, that does not necessarily mean they are healthy foods per se.