A seemingly endless number of shoppers will first look to the Nutrition Facts Label while searching for food products throughout the aisles of their favorite supermarket. Rightfully so, as the Nutrition Facts Label is meant to provide valuable insight into the make-up and production process of any food product on the shelf. What many consumers fail to realize are the changes that are rolled out regarding this label. In fact, within recent years, some of the most significant changes were made to the label. Largely a result of The Food and Drug Administration establishing new standards that require the label to display the most up-to-date collection of nutritional data. These new guidelines can be seen through the label on all imported foods, in addition to the localized U.S. offerings as of today.
While there may be a number of changes that consumers had overlooked, there’s nothing overwhelmingly complicated about them. In fact, one of the most major changes comes in the form of a font size adjustment. The calorie count has now been adapted to displaying the largest font of the entire label. The FDA made these changes as they wanted consumers to immediately be drawn to the calories per serving information of every food product they come into contact with. This change is coupled with an adjustment to the serving size recommendations for a number of products. The amended serving sizes are meant to better depict how American consumers are actually consuming products versus the most suggested way to consume them.
Consumers may also notice that some sections of the label no longer exist. For example, the calories from fat section, which nutritionists once believed to be tied directly to obesity rates in the States, has been removed as of the most recent changes. As newer research has found, an actual relationship between obesity rates and the amount of different types of fats that are being consumed is much more direct. Meaning now consumers will be met with sections of the label dedicated to the breakdown of specific fats in any product, so the saturated and trans fats for example. This change comes coupled with additional nutrients that most American diets are lacking being included as well. Vitamin D and potassium, amongst others, are now found within the percentage breakdown section.
For parents with younger children, or even struggling adults, this next change is a welcome one. The Nutrition Facts Label now includes information related to the number of calories stemming from processed sugars in packaged foods. As the FDA suggests that every individual avoids consuming any more than 10% of their daily calories through these added sugars, this information is very telling. Not only for the sake of what products are truly healthy, but also which products are being altered the most throughout their packing and processing stages. The higher this value, the less natural a product truly is.
The FDA prioritized making these changes in hopes that consumers would become much more health-conscious and make healthier decisions as they go about browsing the aisles in local supermarkets. These changes also look to contribute to a much healthier America for generations to come. Anyone searching for additional information on how some of these changes impact the Nutrition Facts Label, check out the infographic accompanying this post.
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.