Coming Soon- New and Improved Nutrition Facts Labels

Coming Soon- New and Improved Nutrition Facts Labels

On May 26, 2016, the FDA announced that the Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods is getting a much needed update.  Though the changes are subtle, they are a good start (much more needs to be done, but one step at a time).  The updated labels, to which manufacturers need to comply by end of July 2018, will reflect new scientific information, including the link between diet/nutrition and chronic diseases plaguing the US such as obesity, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.  

The new labels are intended to make it easier for consumers to make better informed food choices for themselves and their families.

Here is a breakdown of what is actually changing:

Updated Design

  • The "iconic" look will remain the same, but some stylistic changes will be made to font size and the bolding of the terms "calories," "servings per container," and "serving size" in order to highlight them and make them more prominent.
  • Manufacturers will be required to declare the actual amount in addition to Daily Value % for Vitamin D, calcium, iron, and potassium, as deficiencies are common.  All other vitamins and minerals will be optional for the manufacturer to list.  Vitamin A and Vitamin C will no longer be listed since deficiencies have become rare.
  • The following new footnote will be added- "The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet.  2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice." 

Updated Information about Nutrition Science will be reflected

  • "Added sugars" in grams and % Daily Value will be included. According to the FDA, scientific data shows that it is difficult to meet nutrient needs while staying within caloric limits if you consume more than 10% of your totally daily calories from added sugar, and this is consistent with the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
  • "Calories from Fat" is being removed from the label, as it is irrelevant.  Type of fat is far more important, and that indicator will remain
  • Daily Value for nutrients like sodium, dietary fiber and Vitamin D are being updated based on current science, and the % Daily Value will help consumers understand the context within a total daily diet, that these should be consumed.

Serving Sizes and Labeling Requirements for Package Sizes

  • The law will now require manufacturers to use actual serving size (meaning what a normal person would actually eat), rather than recommended servings
  • Package size will now also be more reflective of what people actually eat.  For example, a 15 ounce can of soup will be 1 serving, as people usually eat that portion in one sitting.
  • For products that are larger than a serving size, but could be consumed in one sitting, there will be dual columns- "per serving" and "per package," to make them easier to understand.

 FDA Label Changes.  www.FDA.com

FDA Label Changes.  www.FDA.com

 FDA Serving Size Changes.  www.FDA.com

FDA Serving Size Changes.  www.FDA.com

Although the new labels will simplify and clarify information on packaging for prepared or processed foods, there is so much more to know about how to effectively meal plan for your family and strategically shop for groceries.  If you would like to schedule a meal planning session, a cooking class, or a strategic grocery shopping trip, simply go to the Contact Us page or message us on Facebook.

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