Just last month, the FDA finalized its new requirements for the new Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods and beverages. This is good news for consumers, who can use the updated layout and information to make better-informed food choices. The new label design is easier to read and understand while retaining the iconic look people have come to recognize.

Nearly all food and beverage manufacturers will need to adjust their labeling within the next two to three years in order to comply with the new requirements for FDA Nutrition Facts labels. Food and beverage producers with annual sales totaling $10 million or more will have until July 26, 2018 to comply. Those with sales of less than $10 million annually will have until July 26, 2019 to bring their labels into compliance.

Changes to Nutrition Facts Labeling

Some of the FDA’s changes are meant to make certain data stand out, such as using large, bold type for serving size and calorie count. The updated Nutrition Facts label is easier to read, understand and scan.

Other changes include:

  • Changes to required nutrients listed
  • Gram amounts of certain nutrients in addition to daily value percentage
  • Updated daily values
  • New footnote detailing the meaning of “daily value”

New Data on Nutrition Facts Labels

In addition to these changes, the new nutrition label includes some data not previously mandated. Several reputable groups, including the World Health Organization, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association, recommend decreasing our intake of added sugars. For that reason, the FDA now requires “added sugars” to be listed in addition to “total sugars” in food and beverage labeling.

Updated Serving Size

Perhaps the most long-overdue change in the Nutrition Facts label is an update to serving size, to more accurately reflect the amounts people actually consume. In the past, serving size was an arbitrary amount, left up to the manufacturer to decide. This led to unrealistic “serving” sizes such as one-third of a muffin or 1.6 “servings” of soda in a bottle. Additionally, Americans tend to consume more in one sitting than they did several decades ago, when the Nutrition Facts label was first introduced.

Additionally, since package sizes affect the amounts people eat or drink, packages that are between one and two servings are to be labeled as a single serving. For certain package sizes, manufacturers will have to provide “dual column” labels to indicate the amount of calories and nutrients on both a per serving and per package/per unit basis. With dual-column labels available, people will be able to easily compare the calories and nutrients they are getting if they choose to consume one serving or the entire package at one time.

Are Your Custom Product Labels in Compliance?

If the FDA requires your product to bear a Nutrition Facts Label, let us help you prepare for the required changes. Don’t wait until the deadline is approaching—these food and beverage label changes are already proving popular with consumers.
The sooner you shift to the new nutrition label format, the more likely your customers are to recognize you as a company that cares about their health and well-being.