It all started with the Nutritional Labeling and Educational Act (NLEA) and it was wonderful for consumers who wanted to know about the nutrients in the foods and beverages they purchase. That was the year the Nutritional Facts Label became a required addition to the information made available on the packaging of a food.
The FDA has extensive rules outlined at their Food Labeling and Nutrition Overview web site. You should visit the site - nutritional information appears simple as you look at food packaging but there is a great deal of work that goes into the labeling and ingredient statement.
Manufacturers of packaged foods and beverage were also greatly affected by the introduction of 'Nutrition Facts'. It became important to minimize undesirable nutrients and maximize and highlight the desirable nutrients.
Food & Beverage Consumer Dietary Guidelines
Some nutrients are known as 'nutrients of concern'. Health authorities want us to consume less of these. They are fats, especially trans fat, and to a lesser extent total and saturated fat. Also sugars, sodium, and to a lesser extent, cholesterol. Though not classified as a nutrient, calories are also of great concern.
There are also 'nutrients to encourage'. Among them are fiber, protein, vitamins A and C, and the minerals iron and calcium.
Designing a Nutrition Facts Label
Obviously a product's recipe has the most influence on the nutritional properties and the second most influential factor is the serving size. Almost everyone wants to use a smaller size to reduce those 'nutrients of concern'. However, there are federal regulations about serving size for most categories of foods and beverages. When designing food & beverage packaging many food entrepreneurs overlook the importance of proper Nutrition Facts Label design and its importance in getting your product off the shelf.
Several months ago I was asked to prepare the Nutritional Facts Label for a new product launch of a single serving chocolate cupcake with chocolate icing. It had lots of butter and chocolate and could be described as big, decadent, luscious - cupcakes are viewed as an affordable indulgence.
Upon seeing the numbers that would appear in the Nutritional Facts Label it could also be described as a heart attack in a cupcake! The Nutrition Facts Panel would have shown:
- A whopping 770 calories
- 70% of the daily allowances for total fat
- 63 % of the daily allowance of saturated fat
- 33 percent of the maximum acceptable daily intake for sodium
This was a recipe for a new product launch failure.
Let's see the Before and After transformation of this product - it's amazing!