Nutrition Labels Gone Stale

More than 20 years later, nutrition labels get a makeover

What was your hairstyle of choice in 1993? Is it the same today? Probably not, because that was almost 23 years ago. So why have Food Nutrition labels looked the same since the early 90s? The food industry has changed a lot since then, not to mention the eating habits of society. When you glance at a nutrition label, do your eyes glaze over? It’s okay if they do, because they aren’t consumer-friendly.

Over the past few years, the Food and Drug Administration has been discussing a major overhaul to nutrition labels that better reflect the information consumers need and want to know. They will also aim to provide the information in language that everyday people use and understand, instead of food scientists or dietitians.

An informational update from the FDA points out, “Obesity, heart disease and other chronic diseases are leading public health problems,” says Michael Landa, director of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “The proposed new label is intended to bring attention to calories and serving sizes, which are important in addressing these problems.”

Nutrition labels will now align with modern, 21st century lifestyles. People eat differently than they did in the early 90s, which means they consume information differently as well. More often than not, if you truly want to know if your yogurt contains harmful ingredients, you go online instead of consulting the side of the cup. Now, the labels will consist of easy-to-understand metrics that you can apply to your daily life. They will explain in clear detail how much added sugar is in your food, and the calorie count and serving size details will be more prominent.

According to the FDA, the goal is, “not to tell people what they should be eating, but to expand and highlight the information they most need when making food choices.”

When you’re required to conduct an overhaul of your nutrition labels in the next year or so, take a look at your overall packaging as well. Are your suppliers providing guidance in label and packaging strategy, including innovative structural design? Chat with Imagine! about our extensive experience in label and packaging design and production. It’s time for a change, at the very least, an audit of your current supplier(s). Unless of course, you still want to rock that 90’s haircut.