With an increased emphasis toward health and nutrition, the FDA is making substantial changes to the nutrition label we are so used to seeing on nearly all packaged food items. While the modifications may not seem significantly different, the message they communicate to customers can play a role in the assumed health of the product right from the start.
Here’s a summary of the major changes that are required and how they could impact food brands across the nation:
- Larger type size will be included for essential data, including calorie count, servings per container, and main categories including fat and cholesterol content. The intended effect here is for customers to clearly understand just how many calories they are consuming in any given serving, and it will also change how certain products are consumed.
- A more accurate representation of vitamins and minerals will be included, with both percentages and actual amounts of Vitamin D, calcium, iron, and potassium for all items. This change illustrates the shift over time regarding which elements are considered “vital” from the perspective of the FDA.
- Despite the wide range of caloric requirements for people from all walks of life, there’s an increased emphasis on what a 2,000 calorie per day recommendation means. Rather than vague wording, the new label clearly explains what this entails. The hope is that individuals will pay more attention to their calorie consumption and modify their diets according to their specific needs.
- Sugar has been a hot-button issue for many years, and despite using natural substitutes, the amount of added sugar in most packaged food items is beyond the comprehension of your average consumer. The FDA aims for people to know exactly how much sugar they’re consuming each day, so in addition to general sugar amounts, a separate section for added sugar is also emphasized.
How Might This Change the Food Industry?
From the perspective of the FDA and nutritional experts across the country, there’s much excitement around what the new label might bring. The hope is that consumers will be more conscious of their purchases and even more aware of what exactly they are consuming daily.
There’s also a curiosity toward how the industry might fare due to these changes, as the modification to serving sizes could potentially cause a huge shift in buying habits. Imagine if an individual is used to consuming a pint of ice cream in two servings, but the new label indicates that 4 servings are present. Will they follow the label’s guidelines? And if so, will that cause a dramatic decline in ice cream sales because people are making their one pint last longer?
Only time will tell, and the food industry still has a bit of time to wait before things even take effect. All companies were required to comply with the changes by July 26, 2018, but compliance has now been pushed to 2020 for many in the industry. Hopefully, these modifications will ultimately signal an increased focus on health and wellbeing.