Lately, the food manufacturing industry has been abuzz with talk of the new FDA nutrition facts panel. While food manufacturers have until January 1, 2020, to comply with the new label guidelines, many businesses are gearing up to make the switch sooner rather than later. Not only will this mean they don’t have to race to get it finished last minute, but it also means their products with the old labels will be off the shelves come January.
So, how exactly is the new nutrition label different from the old one? Many food manufacturers are asking this question and looking for a source that explains it in simple terms. By comparing the new nutrition label vs. the old, you can have the knowledge you need to get a head start on getting ready for the compliance date.
New Nutrition Label vs. Old Nutrition Label: Nutrients
There are basically two categories of changes that are being made to the new nutrition facts label: nutrients that are being added or removed and stylistic modifications. Before we get into the stylistic changes, let’s talk about the nutrients which are being added based on the newest nutritional science and the dietary needs of Americans.
Here are the nutrient categories that will be added to the new nutrition facts label and the FDA’s reasoning behind each one:
- Added Sugars: The average American eats a lot of processed and packaged foods that typically contain large amounts of hidden sugars which can contribute to obesity and disease. Because Americans consume so much sugar, nutritional scientists have shown that it is also difficult to meet required nutrient needs while staying within the recommended calorie limits.
- Vitamin D: Most Americans don’t get enough vitamin D, and vitamin D deficiency has been associated with a number of health problems. By providing a value for it on the new nutrition facts panel, the public can easily make sure they are getting adequate Vitamin D (at least 20 micrograms daily).
- Potassium: The standard American diet also lacks potassium, which has been associated with a risk of high blood pressure. Providing information on potassium on the new nutrition facts panel will help consumers ensure they are getting enough.
Of course, there is only so much room on the nutrition facts panel, so the following nutrient values on the current panel will be taken off the new panel:
- Calories From Fat: While fat was once thought to be detrimental to our health, the FDA is now promoting certain fats as being healthy. While Americans should still be aware of saturated fat intake (which will remain on the label), focusing on calories from fat is no longer necessary.
- Vitamin A: While Vitamin A was once lacking in the standard American diet, it isn’t any longer and therefore doesn’t need to be included on the new panel.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C is generally abundant in American diets, similar to Vitamin A. It therefore no longer needs to be included on the nutrition facts panel.
New Nutrition Label vs. Old Nutrition Label: Stylistic Features
While the general format of the new nutrition facts panel will remain much the same as the old one, there are a few stylistic changes to take note of. Essentially, there are two major stylistic features to include on the new label:
- Bolding: The new nutrition facts panel calls for a larger font size and requires that “calories” and “serving size” be bolded. This is so consumers can quickly and easily tell which information is the most important to focus on.
- Footnote: Changes to the percent daily value footnote will appear on the new label so it is easier to understand. The footnote on the new label will read, “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.”
It may also help to take a look at a visual representation of how the two panels compare.
Updating Your Label Quickly and Easily
Whenever you decide to update your label to the new format, you can do so quickly and easily with FDA-compliant online nutrition analysis software. All you have to do is enter your product recipe and select the new label template. In mere minutes, you can have a perfectly compliant label without having to add and remove nutrient categories and make stylistic changes yourself.
While there is certainly still time for you to update your panel, I’d recommend making the changes sooner rather than later. That way, you don’t have to worry about paying a premium for nutrition analysis when the demand increases closer to the compliance date. You’ll be done before you know it and you won’t have to worry about it again.
LabelCalc is an industry-leading online nutrition analysis software that helps food manufacturing companies of all sizes update their nutrition facts panels. Short on time? Get our expert label consultants to make the switch for you. To learn more, contact us today.