Regulation Changes, Packaging Challenges!

Changing Label Regulations

Up and Coming Label Regulations are Causing New Packaging Challenges

Food producers will need to show labels clearly and concisely without disrupting the visual appeal. Every product relies heavily on label design to jump off the shelf and grab the consumer’s attention. This is becoming even more default with new changes on the horizon.

The FDA has announced several important changes:

  • A  more prominent display of information such as serving sizes and calories.
  • Serving sizes are required to reflect the amount people eat at a typical setting.
  • There must be a more prominent display of daily value percentages for nutrients.
  • Information on what the daily value percentages mean.
  • Label information must be changed to reflect new understanding of nutrition, such as requiring information about added sugars and emphasizing the importance of avoiding certain kinds of fat rather than focusing on total calories from fat.

Food Labeling Modernization Act of 2013 (H.R.3147) also requires the following:

  • Disclosure of percentage of grain-based products such as wheat or whole grain in immediate proximity to a descriptive phrase such as “made with whole grains.”
  • Any food containing sweeteners, coloring, or flavoring to have the fact show on the principal display panel of its package or container.
  • Misleading information is prohibited, such as:
    • Food containing trans fat cannot claim low in cholesterol.
    • Label contains the word “natural” while the food contains any artificial ingredient will be marked misbranded.
    • The term “healthy” on a food label when food contains added sugars or whole grains.
  • Requires the nutrition facts panel on a food label to state the percent of recommended daily calories provided by one serving of the product, based on a recommended daily consumption of calories determined appropriate for members of the general population.
  • Labeling requirement for the percentage of added sugars in a food.
  • Requires sugars, non-caloric sweeteners, and sugar alcohols to each be treated as a group in the list of ingredients on a food label, including individual sugars, non-caloric sweeteners, and sugar alcohols within each group, in their order of predominance.
  • The format of the information required on certain food labeling to: (1) improve its readability, and (2) assist consumers in maintaining healthy dietary practices.
  • Requires the labeling of any food containing at least 10 milligrams of caffeine from all sources per serving to say so.

Attracting Consumers

The consumer will greatly benefit from many of these changes. However, brands may need to rethink how they present this information on their products packaging to keep consumer loyalty. The addition of so many new elements can change the entire look and feel of a label. Many brands play on expressive design to tell a story and capture the consumer. Having to give up space for nutritional information could be damaging to how a brand connects with its consumer. Smaller products will have an even harder time. Still, many brands may lose out as consumers have a more difficult time identifying specific brands since much of the branding “real-estate” has been turned into labeling information. It will be interesting to see how marketers tackle these new labeling challenges.