We all read (or try to read) the Nutrition Label that the FDA requires on food packaging. I’ve seen many people looking the label over while shopping in grocery stores and wonder what the consensus is. Well, it seems that the information wasn’t conveying the best message possible as the FDA has a new proposed label. As stated in the article below, “It is to reflect the latest scientific information, including the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease and designed to highlight key parts of the label such as calories and serving sizes.”
Here I have included the current label and the proposed one. Let me know what you think and let the FDA also know as they are accepting public comment on the proposed changes for 90 days.
Here is the story and the labels.
FDA proposes updates to Nutrition Facts label on food packages
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today proposed to update the Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods to reflect the latest scientific information, including the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease. The proposed label also would replace out-of-date serving sizes to better align with how much people really eat, and it would feature a fresh design to highlight key parts of the label such as calories and serving sizes.
“Our guiding principle here is very simple: that you as a parent and a consumer should be able to walk into your local grocery store, pick up an item off the shelf, and be able to tell whether it’s good for your family,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “So this is a big deal, and it’s going to make a big difference for families all across this country.”
“For 20 years consumers have come to rely on the iconic nutrition label to help them make healthier food choices,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. “To remain relevant, the FDA’s newly proposed Nutrition Facts label incorporates the latest in nutrition science as more has been learned about the connection between what we eat and the development of serious chronic diseases impacting millions of Americans.”
Some of the changes to the label the FDA proposed today would:
- Require information about the amount of “added sugars” in a food product. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans states that intake of added sugar is too high in the U.S. population and should be reduced. The FDA proposes to include “added sugars” on the label to help consumers know how much sugar has been added to the product.
- Update serving size requirements to reflect the amounts people currently eat. What and how much people eat and drink has changed since the serving sizes were first put in place in 1994. By law, serving sizes must be based on what people actually eat, not on what people “should” be eating. Present calorie and nutrition information for the whole package of certain food products that could be consumed in one sitting.
- Present “dual column” labels to indicate both “per serving” and “per package” calorie and nutrition information for larger packages that could be consumed in one sitting or multiple sittings.
- Require the declaration of potassium and vitamin D, nutrients that some in the U.S. population are not getting enough of, which puts them at higher risk for chronic disease. Vitamin D is important for its role in bone health. Potassium is beneficial in lowering blood pressure. Vitamins A and C would no longer be required on the label, though manufacturers could declare them voluntarily.
- Revise the Daily Values for a variety of nutrients such as sodium, dietary fiber and Vitamin D. Daily Values are used to calculate the Percent Daily Value on the label, which helps consumers understand the nutrition information in the context of a total daily diet.
- While continuing to require “Total Fat,” “Saturated Fat,” and “Trans Fat” on the label, “Calories from Fat” would be removed because research shows the type of fat is more important than the amount.
- Refresh the format to emphasize certain elements, such as calories, serving sizes and Percent Daily Value, which are important in addressing current public health problems like obesity and heart disease.
The proposed updates reflect new dietary recommendations, consensus reports, and national survey data, such as the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, nutrient intake recommendations from the Institute of Medicine, and intake data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The FDA also considered extensive input and comments from a wide range of stakeholders.
“By revamping the Nutrition Facts label, FDA wants to make it easier than ever for consumers to make better informed food choices that will support a healthy diet.” said Michael R. Taylor, the FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine. “To help address obesity, one of the most important public health problems facing our country, the proposed label would drive attention to calories and serving sizes.”
The Nutrition Facts label has been required on food packages for 20 years, helping consumers better understand the nutritional value of foods so they can make healthy choices for themselves and their families. The label has not changed significantly since 2006 when information on trans fat had to be declared on the label, prompting manufacturers to reduce partially hydrogenated oils, the main source of trans fat, in many of their products.
The changes proposed today affect all packaged foods except certain meat, poultry and processed egg products, which are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.
The FDA is also proposing to make corresponding updates to the Supplement Facts label on dietary supplements where applicable.
The agency is accepting public comment on the proposed changes for 90 days.
Combined Technologies, Inc. (CTI) is a full service packaging company. We design, manufacture and fulfill folding cartons, thermoformed plastic and corrugated board. We work both retail and B2B markets creating custom packaging solutions. CTI has been delivering quality results to our customers for over 15 years. We are the choice because of our design, service, attention to detail, price and dedication to sustainability.
The lure of really good packaging – research vs. impulse.
How many times have you bought products through the lure of the packaging? Have you found yourself tempted and actually purchased something that way? Many times I’ve seen products that I never thought of buying but found desirable once I saw the packaging. After thinking about it, I had to let the logical side of my brain take over. Depending on price, my knowledge of the product and the competition (plus an actual need), I am able to come to a decision. These days the research is plentiful (Internet) and easy to access. Considering the simplicity of online shopping it is easier than ever to fall prey to clicking the “Buy” button. So when you see “the shiny and attractive package” do you buy on an impulse or do some research? Let me know what you think.
By the way, the above image is packaging for Bluetooth speakers.
When you shop for items and find them to be in a bottle, do you feel you should buy the one that is packaged inside a box? Is there a perceived “higher” value or do you see it as a waste of material. It is understandable that some products that are packaged in a bottle probably require to be inside a box for protection but do all need such? Obviously there is an opportunity to attract consumers with additional real estate on a box and then use the label on the bottle for more direct and necessary legal information. At times we make purchases depending solely on price and other times brand reputation is the deciding factor.
So in this case I am looking for feedback from you. How do you see the bottle in a box situation? Is is necessary or not? Would you make that purchase for your favorite perfume or beauty item if the outer box was gone? What product do you feel necessitates the double packaging? Does the information (or lack of) on a box make you desire the bottle inside it? What are your expectations?
Recently I came upon this article showing handmade paper greeting cards that you plant in the soil as they grow into wildflowers. The cards are embedded with seeds where they first send one a greeting and second act on an interactive level. The cards have whimsical illustrations with the ability to send wonderful messages.
Although I have seen this where one saves the package from a particular product which when planted, grows into a flower, this one is new to my radar. It takes a straightforward route turning a card into a form of nature. In this age of the online social world and instant (and last minute) messaging, my thought here is that someone was really thinking and took the concept of a greeting card and brought it back to a tactile form with dual purposes.
So I wonder if anyone has seen this or other forms that complete such actions. These cards actually makes the transformation that reclaim a life back to print (which has experienced a rapidly growing death). Let me know what you’ve seen and link to examples if you have any.
AT CTI, we seek to deliver creative solutions in all of our projects. If you are interested in seeing more, contact us at 847-968-4855 or visit our new website at www.ctipack.com
I saw an article this morning about a husband and wife doctor team working on making a safer warning label for pharmaceuticals that alert users when their drugs expire and graphically inform not to take them at that time.
Here are a few points of interest with such a project. First, I applaud their effort in addressing this issue. Second is their ability to make this actually work (upon expiration, X’s in circles appear on the medication package acting as a warning). Third, is the fact that the design may never see fruition due to bureaucratic red tape and increased costs for pharmaceutical companies.
With these points considered, should we pursue having something of this nature explored and developed for food products and possibly other retail items? I realize that there are “Sell By This Date” or “Use By This Date” indicators out there, but do they really do the best job possible? I don’t always look for the dates on all my food items and when I do, I have to decide when the date runs close to the date in question (like today or yesterday! This milk smells ok!!)
Do we put such a responsibility on manufacturers and retailers or should we go with the “Consumer Beware” motto? Remember, warning labels are exactly that – warning labels. Do you want them to take on a larger role or do you trust that everyone can handle this? Consider your elderly parents or grandparents looking for the expiration date. I understand that we deal with accountability every day and this may be a slippery slope. Let me know what you think? Would you recommend a stronger solution to your client if the situation came up?
At CTI, we work hard to best packaging solutions for all involved.
Recently someone in our office purchased a home cordless phone system which came in the box shown here. It appears simple enough as it has pictures showing the product, the features and all the information a consumer would want to know prior to purchasing. It contains 5 handsets and a base station – the normal complete setup you would expect in today’s marketplace.
Now if you look at the second image you will see something interesting. We placed the inner package that contained everything you would get in this purchase in front of the overall package. There is a noticeable difference in size.
About 40% difference is what we gauged when we measured the two boxes. Spacers were placed to keep the inner box from rattling but we weren’t sure why there was such a big size difference. Then we thought and came to the conclusion that for this item to sell successfully the manufacturer decided that a bigger box would be best as it leads the consumer to believe there is more in this package which justifies the purchase.
Somehow the consideration for any concerns in regards to sustainability got left behind as a considerable amount of material is wasted on this package. We were curious if any consumers noticed this after their purchase and if it made any impression on them about the manufacturer for now or in the future. My guess is that there really wasn’t an impression made at all. We are so used to opening packages that when the task is simple, we are pleased and move on. When it gets difficult, we get annoyed. Taking action… well that’s another story all together.
At CTI, we work hard to rewrite the story to make a more positive impression down the road for all involved.
Last week we exhibited at the Sustainable Brands Conference in San Diego. There were at least 50 exhibitors displaying their products and services varying from paddle boards made from sustainable materials that are used for yoga to a company that produces books discussing sustainability for business and personal use. We met non-profits discussing global issues regarding deforestation, a newly launched group that utilized the Internet to draw in companies to share their campaigns on sustainable efforts in order to help others do so with their causes and a number of people who attended simply to learn more about the issues of sustainability and what it could do for them.
During our stay there, we were asked time and time again, “What do you do and why are you here?” Whether we were exhibiting at our booth, meeting others during a networking function or simply walking to grab a beverage or a snack the same question came up. It never occurred to us that packaging wasn’t on the top of all the attendees minds last week. It seemed so obvious to us that what we do and why we were there would be the biggest no-brainer at the conference. Even though we had a sign stating what we do, people still asked. What was really interesting was the reactions we got after explaining our work. Most people attending, who stopped to “look us over” stated that they didn’t have anything for us in regards to packaging. When we finished presenting our story and showing examples of our sustainable packaging, many of these same people exchanged business cards with us and realized that they did have some possible opportunities to work with us. We quickly realized that most people do not understand the many facets of sustainability and what role it plays in packaging.
And the best experience we had was hearing what so many other companies do and why they were there. It was truly an education for us as we saw and learned quite a bit from a vast and global group. The experience was a success and it helped us immensely get a better understanding of our role in the sustainability world.