Amid the craziness of last year, you may have missed the announcement from the Food and Drug Administration regarding the changes made to the Nutrition Facts Label. Changes to the label in the past have been rare, as the changes made last year were the first changes to be made in nearly 20 years. Below you’ll find a breakdown of the most significant changes made, in addition to how these changes effect consumers.
Let’s start with one of the first, and most important, pieces of information the label includes: serving size. Everything is good in moderation, right? Except when you’re consuming too much of something without you realizing it. The changes made to the suggested serving sizes were a result of this. It’s not uncommon for those that open up a bag of chips to devour many more than what the suggested serving size recommends. As such, the serving size information has been updated to better represent the way people commonly eat these products. Now, this doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good to eat more than what’s suggested if you’re hoping to maintain a healthy body weight. Always be conscious of what is and isn’t too much for you and your family.
The next most noticeable change has got to be the calorie changes. Not a change in the way calories are counted, but rather how they’re displayed on the label. Previously, this information might’ve been easy to overlook occasionally. That’s virtually impossible now as as this value is now bold faced and has the largest font size of the each food product’s label. Another change in the calories section of the label comes from the removal of the calories from fat unit. This change comes as a result of new research findings that indicate the amount of fat from each product isn’t the most important information for a consumer’s health. What is most important is the type of fat in these products (saturated, unsaturated, or trans fats) and these are now included.
The last set of changes will be seen at the bottom most section of the label. This section includes the percentage daily values of a number of nutrients that are necessary components of a healthy diet. The changes made to this section include increasing the font of each value listed, and including additional nutrients. This provides an insight into products that might be contributing too much sodium to an individual’s diet for example. This information allows shoppers to make more educated choices based on particular nutrient groups when necessary.
These changes, in tandem with additional minor inclusions and exclusions of certain parts of the label, are made in hopes that shoppers will be able to make more healthy choices for both themselves and their families. For more information regarding the changes made to the label this past year, check out the featured infographic below.
Author bio: John Hinchey is VP of Sales for Westfalia Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of logistics solutions for plants, warehouses and distribution centers. He has more than 20 years of experience in manufacturing and warehouse automation.