According to a 2013 study by the NDP group only 48% of consumers check the label to see if the food they are buying has things they are trying to avoid. This is a 17 percent decline from a 1990 study when the Nutritional Labeling and Education Act (NLEA) was introduced.
Nutritional labels are a great way to know what exactly is in your food and how much of a certain nutrient you are getting from that product.
These labels can also be somewhat confusing to consumers.
Luckily, the FDA recently passed a law for food companies to change their nutrition labels.
The new labels will have more information that will be beneficial to the consumer.
Here are the changes
The Design Is Changing
– The font size for “Calories,” “servings per container,” and the “Serving size” titles
– “Serving size” will be in bold to grab the reader’s attention to know exactly how much a serving size is
– Now the Daily Value of Vitamin D, calcium, iron and potassium will be displayed along with the other vitamins and minerals on the old label
– The grams of these nutrients are not required but are optional for manufacturers
– The Daily Value will be explained in a footnote on the bottom of the label. It basically tells you how much of that nutrient you would be consuming if you were taking in a 2,000 calorie diet.
More Nutrient Information Added
– The new label will feature “added sugars” in grams and as a Daily Value to show if there is naturally occurring sugar or more added sugar in the product.
– This will help consumers to be aware of how much sugar they are consuming daily
– Vitamin D and potassium will be required to be listed on the label
– Vitamin A and C are no longer required but are can be listed voluntarily
– “Total Fat,” “Saturated Fat,” and “Trans Fat” listings will be on the label
– “Calories from Fat” will be removed since research shows that it is the type of fat and not the amount of fat that may impact your health
– New Daily Values for nutrients like sodium, dietary fiber, and vitamin D based on new evidence from the Institute of Medicine and research findings. These values are reference amounts of nutrients to consume and help to calculate the Daily Value (% DV). It gives consumers an idea of how much of that nutrient they would be getting from the product.
Serving Sizes and Label Requirements for Certain Package Sizes
– Serving sizes are now going to be actually based on what people eat and not what they should be eating
– For example a serving will reflect that actual whole bottle if it is 12 ounces
– A can of soup that is 15- oz will have calories and nutrients for the entire can instead of how it used to say 2 servings
– Certain products that are larger than a single serving but may be consumed in one sitting will have “dual column” labels to show both the nutrients for a “per serving” and “per package”/“per unit”
– An example of this is a 24-ounce bottle of soda
These labels will be put in effect by July 26, 2018 with companies who make less than $10 million in annual food sales given an additional year to comply
Still confused by food labels? Check out more information at the FDA.gov