On May 20, 2016, the FDA finalized and released the freshened look for Nutrition Facts panels with the goal of allowing consumers to more easily make healthy food choices. The changes to the aged label reflect a better scientific understanding of nutritional needs and consumer habits. Compliance deadlines for manufacturers to implement the new design are July 26, 2018, or July 26, 2019, depending on annual food sales.
Perhaps the most obvious substantive changes to the 20-year-old Nutrition Facts panel are formatting updates. The caloric information is noticeably larger; in fact, “Calories” is denoted in larger font than any other piece of nutritional information. Similarly, the serving size information will increase in size, although not as drastically as the caloric information.
In addition to the formatting changes, the FDA also revamped the substantive label content based on research, recommendations from expert groups, and input from the public. Scientific studies have driven a better understanding of not only nutritional requirements, but also of consumer tendencies and habits. This research is illustrated in the changes to the required nutrients included in a label, as well as serving size requirements that are based on the amount of food and beverages that people more realistically consume. For example, a pint of ice cream may now be three servings, versus four servings.
Overall, the refreshed look and content of the Nutrition Facts label is a modernized and more logical approach which should provide consumers easier access to healthy food choices.
If you have questions about the new Nutrition Facts panel requirements or related matters, please contact a member of our Food & Agriculture team: