New Food Labels to Highlight Calories and Sugar

The Tampa Bay Times featured an article discussing new food labels that will highlight calories and sugar.

What does this mean for your private label packaging?

The Food and Drug Administration says that by law, serving sizes must be based on actual consumption, not ideal consumption. For one I’m glad to see this is being looked into, because the whole reason the Nutritional Labeling and Education Act (NLEA) came out in 1990 was basically to disclose to the consumer the amount of calories, fat etc. was actual per serving. The Act also identified full-fat, low-fat, non fat, skim etc. What this next step represents is better disclosure of the truth in calories, sugar etc. based on a realistic serving size. The law would take away the liberties of companies, trying to market their product as one thing, but actually another. Let’s look at ice cream for example.

Here’s the nutritional panel for Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Butter Fudge, what the FDA is suggesting is, people eat more than 103g at one sitting. To put the gram amount into perspective, 103g is 1/4 of 1 pint (16 oz./473 ml). Now if you’re the average ice cream lover, I suspect you’re good for 2 – 3 times that at one sitting.

Peanut Butter Fudge

If/when the new law goes into effect, this label would show at least 2-3 x greater in gram amount and the same gain with all values. This label represents a typical panel for a Super Premium product.

The FDA projects food companies will have to pay around $2 billion as they change the labels. Companies have resisted some of the changes in the past, including listing added sugars on the label, but the industry is so far withholding criticism. By the way, you can count on the food companies to pass along the cost to revise their label.

You may also have noticed in the grocery freezer case that Häagen-Daz is filling their pint (16oz) with only 14oz of product, but still calling it a pint. They said they have made this step because of increased cost in ingredients and manufacturing, but maybe in part the change was to adjust nutritional numbers. Who is to know?

Here is the nutritional panel for Häagen-Daz Chocolate Peanut Butter, notice the amount per serving is blank so calculations are based on ½ cup serving size.

amount per serving

serving size: 1/2 Cup

calories: 340

Nutritional Label


*Percent Daily Values (DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

vitamin A 10%   vitamin C 0%   calcium 10%   iron 10%

Just another reason that “Truth in Labeling” is a good thing for the consumer.

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