It’s not too late to start on a New Years Resolution! Do you work with package design and/or Nutrition Facts labels? Now is the time to learn about the new FDA regulations. These new parameters go into effect sooner than you think. Don’t worry, we’ve got all the information you need to make sure your package designs comply with the new rules.

What is the reason for the change?

The current Nutrition Facts label is more than 20 years old. Hence, it’s time for change.

The FDA announced new Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods with the intent of making it easier for consumers to read the labels and make more knowledgeable, health-conscious decisions when purchasing items. The new Nutrition Facts label requirements are based on current scientific health studies, and now require listing different ingredients (vitamins, sugars, etc.) than on the current (soon to be old) labels.

What is the deadline?

Manufacturers with $10 million or more in annual sales need to update to the new label by January 1, 2020.

Manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual sales need to update to the new label by January 2, 2021.

NEW UNIFORM COMPLIANCE INFORMATION (AS OF DECEMBER 2018): “The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or we) is establishing January 1, 2022, as the uniform compliance date for food labeling regulations that are published on or after January 1, 2019, and on or before December 31, 2020. We periodically announce uniform compliance dates for new food labeling requirements to minimize the economic impact of label changes.”

“Fun” fact: These rules have been official since May of 2016. Feel like a procrastinator? Don’t worry quite yet.

What are the changes?

In general, the layout is very similar to the current label. However, there are some key features of the refreshed design:

New Emphasis on Key Information

Font sizes are increasing for the calories, servings per container, and the serving size. The serving size information and calories are also in bold now.

There is now an emphasis on these items to make it easier for consumers to read (and ultimately make wiser health decisions).

Actual Amounts

Now, all ingredients must have the percent Daily Value as well as the actual amount, even on the nutrients area of the label.

New Nutrients/Ingredients

Added sugars are now a requirement on Nutrition Facts labels. In the nutrients area of the label, Vitamin D, Calcium, Iron, and Potassium are now the required nutrients to be listed. Vitamins A and C can be voluntarily listed, but are no longer a requirement.

Fun fact: Vitamins A and C were required on the current label, as many consumers were deficient in those vitamins. However, deficiencies are rare anymore – hence, the change to Vitamin D and potassium – nutrients that Americans are more likely to be lacking.

Calories from Fat has been removed, as scientific research shows that information is not as pertinent as Total Fat, Saturated Fat and Trans Fat.

Footnote

The footnote copy updates make it easier for consumers to understand what percent Daily Value means. It now reads:

“*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.”

Serving Sizes

Did you know that the law requires serving sizes to be based on the amounts of food/beverages people actually eat – not what they should be eating? As social norms transform, serving sizes are larger since the last serving size standards were published in 1993.

 

Out with the old, in with the new.

Below is an official FDA comparison chart of the current label vs. the new label, along with descriptions and examples of the differences between the two: