The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has introduced an initiative to help consumers use the new Nutrition Facts label on packaged foods. What’s In It For You? targets both the general public and consumers at higher risk of nutrition-related chronic conditions such as obesity.
Features of the effort include videos and educational materials in which anthropomorphized food products display the revamped label on a fashion runway.
“This campaign highlights that the new Nutrition Facts label has been designed to assist consumers in making better-informed food choices,” noted Susan Mayne, director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “If a consumer wants to know how many calories there are in a serving, that information is now highlighted. If a consumer wants to choose a food with more vitamin D or less added sugars, that information is now right there on the label.”
Although the new label – the first redesign in more than two decades – was finalized back in May 2016, most manufacturers with $10 million or more in annual food sales had until January 2020 to begin using it on their products, while most manufacturers with under $10 million in annual food sales have until Jan. 1, 2021, to start using it, although many already have. The redesigned label now provides bold listings for serving sizes and calorie counts, along with such additional changes as new required listings for added sugars, vitamin D and potassium, and a dual-column version of the label for food packages that contain two to three servings that can be reasonably consumed at one time. On the dual-column label, one column lists the nutritional facts related to a single serving, and the other lists nutritional facts for the contents of the entire package. Serving sizes have also been updated to reflect the fact that the amount of food and beverages people consume has changed.
The campaign is part of the FDA’s comprehensive, multiyear Nutrition Innovation Strategy, which is designed to provide consumers with information about healthy food choices and to facilitate industry innovation toward healthier foods. Other aspects of the campaign are aimed at health care professionals, teachers, dietitians and community leaders, who can help convey information to consumers.