Have you heard? On May 20th, the FDA announced new changes coming to the nutrition label of food products. Why? Well, the current label is over 20 years old. On their website, the FDA states that “The changes announced today are based on updated scientific information, new nutrition and public health research, more recent dietary recommendations from expert groups, and input from the public.”
So here are the key changes you can expect to see phased in (or out) over the next couple of years.
1. Bold Font
Just so you don’t miss it, the type size for calories, servings per container and serving size will be larger and bolded. Here’s an before and after example.
This is to help consumers focus on calories and how much they are eating. Whether it will make a difference or not remains to be seen but it will make the label easier to read.
2. Required Nutrient Changes
The vitamins and minerals required for labels are changing. No longer will vitamins A and C be required. Now vitamin D and potassium will be listed along with iron and calcium. This is because vitamin D and potassium are nutrients of public health concern. And in addition to % Daily Value (DV), they will provide how many grams the serving contains. Of course, companies can voluntarily include any nutrient they want but these four — calcium, potassium, iron and vitamin D — are required on packages.
3. Updated Daily Values
You can expect changes to the Daily Values for sodium, fiber and vitamin D to reflect the Institute of Medicine and new reports like the 2015 Dietary Guidelines. Daily Values help consumers understand how the nutrients in the food relate to a day’s worth of eating. New verbiage for Daily Values on packages includes “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.”
4. New Added Sugar Info
One of the most exciting changes to the label is will include added sugars along with a Daily Value for sugar which is 10% of calories. This will help consumers understand how much sugar is added to the product versus natural sources of sugar (like lactose in milk versus added sweeteners). This makes a difference when choosing flavored yogurts, tomato-based sauces, and milk drinks.
5. Different Serving Sizes
According to the FDA: “By law, serving sizes must be based on amounts of foods and beverages that people are actually eating, not what they should be eating.” And because how much people typically eat has increased, serving sizes need to change too.
One example is a serving of ice cream is going from 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup. Also, packages that contain two or less servings where people are likely to eat or drink it in one sitting, like a 20-ounce soda, will now show the unit as one serving. For other products that are a bit bigger but still could be eaten in one sitting, there will be a dual column for calories for “per serving” and “per package,” as shown below.
All of these changes seem to make sense and will make the label easier to read and less confusing.
So what do you think? Do you like the changes?