Earlier last year, the Food and Drug Administration set forth some new regulations for the Nutrition Facts Label that you see on all of the packaged foods both made in the U.S and imported to the U.S. These changes were made to update the label due to new nutrition-based findings that allow consumers to better understand what foods make up a healthy diet for them. Below you’ll find all of the changes that were made to the label this past year.
The first, and likely most noticeable change for consumers comes in the form of the calorie count of each serving of a particular food item. The text for this particular value on the label has been made much larger than any other text on the label in addition to now being bolded. This change was made in hopes that consumers would make more health-conscious choices based on their ideal daily caloric intake when considering what food products to purchase. The calorie changes are coupled with an adjustment to the serving sizes of a number of food items that include the label. Previously, the serving sizes were meant to suggest how much of a particular food item a person should be consuming. Now the serving size is a more accurate representation of how a person often consumes a particular food item. Which allows consumers to better understand just how many calories they’re consuming per food item.
More micro changes to the label can be seen in the removal of the Calories from Fat section. Previously this was included as research indicated that the overall amount of fat was important to note for particular food items. However, new discoveries have indicated that the types of fat that food products are made up of is more important to our diets. So, the label will now include the total amount of saturated and trans fats in each food product. In addition to this, more values were added to the label that were previously left off. Nutrients like vitamin D, potassium, and others have now found their way on the label. This was in part due to a majority of Americans not receiving enough of these nutrients on a daily basis. The FDA also allows for the producers of these products to include additional nutrients if they see fit.
Another major change to the label can be seen in the inclusion of total percentage of calories from sugar. Similarly to the calories changes, this change is coupled with an additional element. Labels will now show the percentage of calories from added sugars as well. These are sugars that were introduced during the processing or packaging stages of a particular food product. This change was included in order for consumers to easily discern between a product with more natural sugars versus products that have large amounts of added sugar. It’s recommended that you shouldn’t consume any more than 10% of your daily calorie intake from added sugars, so be cautious of what you purchase.
All of these changes create an opportunity for consumers to make more health-conscious decisions when purchasing foods and other goods from their grocers. Being more informed and making the right choices is a great step toward a healthier diet and a healthier lifestyle. For more information on how the label has changed this past year, take a moment to review the featured infographic below.
Author bio: John Hinchey is VP of Sales for Westfalia Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of logistics solutions for plants, warehouses and distribution centers. He has more than 20 years of experience in manufacturing and warehouse automation.