In Nutrition facts labels

Implementing your new nutrition label in time for compliance is simple when you use an online nutrition analysis software. Image source: Unsplash user MARVIN TOLENTINO.

As a food manufacturer, you likely already know about the new nutrition label format that is set to roll out in the next few years. But since food manufacturers are usually quite busy, you may not have had the chance to really sit down and examine the changes thoroughly. If this is the case, you probably haven’t even thought about how and when you are going to implement them.

While there is still time before the new nutrition facts panel compliance date, many food manufacturers are getting ready to roll out their products with the new nutrition facts panel so they don’t have to worry about scrambling to make the changes last minute. By doing it earlier, you can ensure that your products with the old panels will be out of circulation by the compliance date. If you are interested in getting your new label finished quickly and easily, here is what you need to know about new nutrition label implementation.

The New Nutrition Label Implementation Timeline

The compliance date for the FDA food labeling changes was originally set for June 26, 2018. However, the Trump Administration pushed the new compliance date to January 2020 with the goal of giving food manufacturers more time to secure the finances and resources needed to make such changes to the nutrition facts panel. With food companies and their resources in mind, the FDA also decided to give food companies with less than $10 million annual sales an additional year to comply, making their compliance date January 2021.

Regardless of which date your company must comply with, it is a good idea to start thinking about your new nutrition facts panel now. While it may seem like you have ample time, 2019 is almost here, which means compliance is right around the corner.

I usually tell food manufacturers to sketch out a rough timeline for implementing their new nutrition facts label, allocating time for familiarizing themselves with the label changes, finding a software to update their label, adjusting or redesigning their packaging if need be, and printing the packaging with the new labels. Depending on the manufacturer, this can take anywhere from one month for very small companies to six months for larger ones.

The New Nutrition Facts Panel in a Nutshell

Given the fact that implementing the new nutrition facts panel may take some time, it’s a good idea to start by learning about the changes to the new label. Essentially, there are two categories of alterations to the new nutrition facts label The first category is nutrients that are being added or removed based on the most recent nutritional research. The second category of modifications is purely stylistic. These changes are intended to draw consumers’ attention to particular parts of the panel.

The following nutrient categories are being added to the new nutrition facts panel:

  • Added sugars
  • Vitamin D
  • Potassium

The following nutrient categories will be taken off the new nutrition facts panel:

  • Calories from fat
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C

As for stylistic changes, the new panel requires that:

  • “Calories” and “Serving size” be bolded and appear in larger font
  • An updated footnote that 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.”

While the changes are pretty straightforward, I find it helpful to see a visual comparison of the old and new nutrition facts panel. That way, you can really get a feel for how the new label reads and which information the FDA is trying to highlight for consumers.

The Easy Way to Update Your Nutrition Facts Panel

The good news is, you actually don’t have to have a detailed understanding of the new label requirements in order to update your nutrition facts panel. FDA-compliant online nutrition analysis software, like LabelCalc, actually allows you to create a new FDA-compliant label from scratch very quickly and easily.

What’s the secret? Well, we have already programmed the new nutrition facts label into our online software, which means that once you type in your recipe and see your analyzed results, you simply have to select the new version of the label and your values will automatically fill the new template. You don’t have to worry about formatting or font size, and you certainly don’t have to worry about which nutrient categories to add or remove. Creating your new label really couldn’t be any simpler.

Actually, the only way that creating your new label could be easier is if you hired a nutrition labeling expert to do the work for you. That way, you can ensure your analysis is done correctly and your label is perfect before you roll it out.

While complying with the new nutrition labeling guidelines is certainly a big deal for food manufacturing companies, it does not have to be a hassle or a financial strain on your company. The key, of course, is getting it done in advance so you don’t create unnecessary stress for yourself when the compliance date rolls around. Trust me when I say it’s a good idea to start soon and get it done early—you’ll be glad you did.

LabelCalc is an industry-leading online nutrition analysis software trusted by food manufacturers large and small. For more information or to implement a new nutrition facts panel for your product, contact us today.

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