SILVER SPRING, Md. — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has launched an initiative to help consumers use the new Nutrition Facts label that appears on packaged foods to maintain healthy dietary practices. The campaign with the tagline “What’s In It For You?” aims to reach the general public and also focuses on consumers at increased risk of nutrition-related chronic diseases, including obesity. The campaign includes videos and educational materials of “food products” modeling their new looks, including on a fashion runway, after receiving a makeover.
“This campaign highlights that the new Nutrition Facts label has been designed to assist consumers in making better informed food choices,” said 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.”
The new label was finalized in May 2016, and most manufacturers with $10 million or more in annual food sales had until January 2020 to begin using it on their products. Most manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales have an additional year, until Jan. 1, 2021, to start using the new label – although many already have. The new label is most distinguishable by its bold listings for serving sizes and calorie counts. Additional changes include new required listings for added sugars, vitamin D and potassium, and a dual column version of the label for food packages that contain 2-3 servings which 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 column lists nutritional facts for the contents of the entire package.
The new label is the first redesign of the Nutrition Facts in more than 20 years, and its design is based on updated scientific information, including the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease. Serving sizes have also been updated to reflect that the amount of food and beverages people eat and drink has changed.
The new campaign is part of the FDA’s comprehensive, multi-year Nutrition Innovation Strategy, which is designed to empower consumers with information about healthy food choices and to facilitate industry innovation toward healthier foods. In addition to educating consumers, aspects of the campaign have been developed for health care professionals, teachers, dietitians and community leaders, who can help relay information to consumers.