It’s been 20 years since the Nutrition Facts Label was introduced, and for the past two years, the FDA has been working to update the tag to meet current nutrition issues and consumer concerns. Finally, a new label design has been approved, and will go into effect on July 26, 2018.
Here are the changes you can expect to see on the new and improved Nutrition Facts Label:
- Serving Sizes. The serving sizes will reflect what people currently eat – rather than what the food companies deem reasonable. Serving sizes that were equivalent to a few chips or ⅓ of a pint of ice cream might now reflect the whole package. By law, serving sizes need to be based on the amount of food people are actually eating, not what they should be eating. Because the amount of food people eat and drink has changed since the serving sizes were established more than 20 years ago, the serving sizes are being increased or decreased accordingly to reflect what people actually are consuming today. Although some serving sizes are increasing, this should not encourage people to eat more of that particular food, since the serving sizes are meant to reflect what people already consume.
- Calories. The total calorie count will be in large, bold font, so it stands out from the other nutrition information. According to the FDA, this change was made to reflect the country’s growing obesity epidemic.
- Added Sugars. This new category is important especially in light of recent updates to the dietary guidelines encouraging Americans to reduce sugar intake from processed foods. This change allows shoppers to tell the difference between sugars added during processing versus sugars that come naturally, as in fresh fruits and dairy.
- Multi-Serving Products. There will be two columns to indicate the per-serving and per-package calorie and nutrition information. This is especially helpful for food items that could be consumed in either one sitting or multiple sittings, such as a pint of ice cream.
- Odd-Sized Packages. Packages or containers that are between one and two servings will now be labeled as one serving. For example, 20-ounce bottles of soda will now be labeled as one serving.
- Sodium, Dietary Fiber and Vitamin D. The percent daily values for sodium, dietary fiber and vitamin D will change based on the new 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Although the recommended requirements have either increased or decreased, the recipes of the food products have not changed.
- Vitamin D and Potassium. Labels will now show the gram amount of vitamin D and potassium contained in a food. This is due to the fact that some Americans don’t always get enough vitamin D and potassium. In the past, labels only showed percent daily values. Having the gram amount will help consumers more easily track how much of these nutrients they consume daily.
- Vitamins A and C. Since deficiencies of vitamins A and C are rare these days, amounts of these nutrients are no longer required to be listed on labels. Manufacturers may list these nutrients on labels voluntarily.
- Fat. Since type of fat is regarded as more important than the amount of fat, the “Calories from Fat” line will be eliminated. However, "Total Fat," “Saturated Fat” and “Trans Fat” will still be required.
- Percent Daily Value. The explanation of “percent daily value” will continue to appear at the bottom of the nutrition label, and it will still be based on a 2,000 calorie diet. However, the verbiage will be simplified, stating that a 2,000 calorie per day diet is used as general nutrition advice. The new verbiage also explains that percent daily values indicate how much a nutrient in a serving of a food contributes to a daily diet.
Have questions about the new Nutrition Facts Panel? Ask our dietitians!
Compare the original label format to the new label format below.
Brittany Nikolich is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with Festival Foods and is certified by the State of Wisconsin.
Disclaimer: The information provided here is intended for general information only. It is not intended as medical advice. Health information changes frequently as research constantly evolves. You should not rely on any information gathered here as a substitute for consultation with medical professionals. Information may not be reproduced without permission from Festival Foods. We strongly encourage guests to review the ingredient lists of suggested products before purchasing to ensure they meet individual dietary needs. All products not available at all Festival locations.