Shoppers have noticed subtle changes over the past couple of years on their package labels. The effort was started by Michelle Obama, and although many lobbyists have tried for further delays and changes to the nutrition facts label, the reality is that earlier this month, on Jan. 1, the regulations changed. Large manufacturers had to comply, while smaller companies get an extra year to conform—although that seems to me to be a mistake that adds further confusion for shoppers.
The good news is, according to the International Food Information Council, 59% of shoppers almost always read a label before buying a new food.
The biggest news is all about sugar: The new label specified a callout for total sugars and added sugars.
Listing vitamins A and C are no longer mandatory, but vitamin D, potassium, calcium and iron are. Actual amounts in milligrams, micrograms and other units of measure are listed now too, not just percentages.
Daily value percentages have been upgraded. For example, total fat increased from 65 grams to 78 grams, dietary fiber increased from 25 grams to 28 grams, and sodium decreased from 2,400 milligrams to 2,300 milligrams.
Serving sizes for about 30 commonly consumed foods such as ice cream, yogurt and carbonated drinks changed. Serving sizes are based on how much people are actually eating, not how much they “should” be eating. Food packages small enough that they could be eaten all at once even though they contain multiple servings (a pint of ice cream or candy bar, for example) will have dual-column labels. One column has the values of one serving, and the other column is what’s in the full package.
Use your retail dietitian to educate all your team members to these changes, because shoppers will be asking them to your produce, meat, deli and all-service teams.