July 2016

Top 3 Highlights of the Nutrition Facts Panel Facelift

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is saying “out with the old and in with the new” as it scraps the more than 20-year-
old Nutrition Facts label in favor of a refreshed version that better reflects updated scientific information, new nutrition and public health research and the new dietary recommendations introduced in 2015. 

The goal: Provide consumers with information to assist them in maintaining healthy dietary practices. 

Food manufacturers eying the July 26, 2018, compliance deadline first have to understand the extent of the Nutrition Facts panel facelift before defining the implications to their product packaging, how the new presentation of nutritional information may be received by consumers and the logistical considerations in play to ensure new product packaging is on shelves – and compliant – by the deadline.    

The label changes can be grouped into three categories:

  • Refreshed Design: Consumers will likely not do a double take when viewing the new-and-improved nutrition information on their favorite cookies. The label’s new look is not dramatically different from the “iconic” version to which we’re accustomed. Calories, serving size and servings per container will be emphasized with a larger font and bold type, while the Daily Value footnote has changed to better explain how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet.
  • Right-Sized Serving Size: If a food can reasonably be consumed at one eating occasion, the FDA has ruled that its label needs to reflect that it’s a single serving. Halving the contents (and the calories) by labeling that food “two servings per package” will no longer measure up. For example, a 20 oz. soda currently defines a serving size as 8 oz., which means that one bottle is 2.5 servings. As 20 oz. beverages are reasonably consumed during one eating occasion, they will now be considered one serving, thereby multiplying the calories, sodium, carbohydrates, sugars, etc., by 2.5 under the new labeling guidelines. Note: The serving size is the “realistic” amount consumed, not necessarily the FDA’s “recommended” serving size. 
  • Relevant Nutrition Information: As Americans’ diets have changed so too have the nutrients required to maintain a healthy diet. Vitamins A and C are no longer required in a food’s Nutrition Facts as the A and C Vitamin deficiencies that existed a century ago are rare today. On the other hand, Vitamin D and potassium are lacking in our diets, which increases risk of chronic disease. These new additions to the label will join calcium and iron rounding out the mandatory vitamins and minerals. Furthermore, the new FDA guidelines require the percent Daily Value to be disclosed to aid consumers in measuring their daily intake. Another new bit of information now being displayed to consumers is “added sugars.” A subset of total sugars, these sugars are added to foods during processing, or are packaged as such. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends reducing caloric intake from added sugars, which have been found, on average, to account for about 13 percent of consumers’ daily calorie intake.

While the new label requirements will make it easier for consumers to make better-informed choices in their everyday diet, food and beverage companies are faced with a looming deadline for compliance. Sign up for our newsletter to read the latest articles from Phototype’s team of experts that will walk you through every important compliance specification and consideration – from design to shelf.

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