Nutrition Labels Get Read – So You’d Better Get Ready
Obviously, many things have changed a great deal since 1993 and most of them come to mind pretty quickly. The first things you probably think of are smartphones, the Internet, cable TV, digital music and the like. But there’s something else you probably do on an almost daily basis that you weren’t doing very often, if at all, years ago. And that’s looking at nutrition labels on the food products you purchase.
There weren’t nearly as many people counting calories, fats, sugars, carbs and the like back then – and it’s a good thing, because there was really no easy way to do it. That is, until the U.S. Food and Drug Administration introduced the “Nutrition Facts” label as a requirement for every food product purchased in the United States.
In the 20 years since, Americans have gone from regarding those labels as some strange, foreign language to depending on them as a vital part of every food purchase. With the added emphasis on eating healthy these days, those labels will become even more important as time goes on. That’s reflected in a series of changes the FDA is proposing for those labels over the next couple of years.
Proposed FDA Changes to Food Labels
The proposed changes are now on display for public comment, and once adopted, will be implemented over a period of up to two years. But smart food manufacturers will move to adjust their food packaging and shift their nutrition labels into compliance gradually, so as to minimize expense and disruption. At Superior Business Solutions, we have a number of clients in fields that will be affected by these changes and we are ready to work with them to help ensure a smooth transition to the new labels they will ultimately have to develop.
The changes themselves are actually quite interesting. A look at the proposed form shows how important subtle details can be.
The caloric content of an item is made much more obvious in the new label, with much larger type and a more prominent location. Other important information is shown in a clearer, more logical display pattern.
Some listings will be required for the first time, including potassium, Vitamin D, and “added sugars” to help differentiate them from the sugars occurring naturally in the product. Other traditional listings, including Vitamins A and C, need no longer be included since they are rarely seen as deficient in American diets today.
The most intriguing change I’ve noticed regards “serving size.” In the new rules, serving size will be based on what people “typically” eat, not how much they should consume at a given time, as the current serving sizes seem to indicate. The FDA has provided a nice info-graphic that helps explain that. I’m betting that this will be startling to some folks at first, as the larger serving sizes will result, of course, higher calorie counts. But it makes sense to me, since serving sizes such as “half a cupcake” or “three pretzels” were never very realistic.
Ready To Make The Food Label Change?
Overall, the proposed changes sound like a good thing to me. But if your business involves food packaging and labeling, you need to start thinking about how you’re going to conform to the new rules once they are officially adopted. Check out the full FDA report on the changes here.
If you’d like to get started, or talk to me about what is involved in a change like this, give me a call. We work with labels for food and other products on a regular basis, and can help you work through the details. Nutrition Facts labels help you make the right choices in the supermarket. I’d humbly suggest that we are the right choice when it comes time to update your food product packaging labels to meet the new FDA rules.