The Nutrition Facts Label for packaged foods and beverages is getting a makeover.  The current label has remained unchanged for the past 20, years with the exception of the addition of “trans fat” in 2006.  In March 2014, the FDA issued two proposed rules followed by a supplemental proposed rule in July 2015.  

The FDA is poised to finalize the proposed rules to the Nutritional Facts Label found on most food packages in the United States as early as March 2016. When the proposed rules are adopted, they will include a greater understanding of nutrition science, updated serving size requirements to reflect what consumers actually eat, new labelling requirements for certain package sizes, and a new easy- to-read design.   

One of the key changes of the FDA’s proposal that will have a significant impact on the industry and consumers is to require information about “added sugars.” It is widely understood that added sugars supply no additional nutrient value and are referred to as “empty calories.”  The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends reducing the amount of added sugars consumed.  Evidence shows that eating these “empty calories” can cause the consumption of less nutrient-rich foods and an overall increase caloric intake. This proposal would require the declaration of “Added Sugars” which will appear indented under “Sugars”, helping consumers understand how much sugar is naturally occurring and how much has been added to the product.  The percent daily value therefore would be based on the recommendation that the daily intake of calories from added sugars not exceed 10 percent of total calories.  The industry may have to adjust formulations in response to how the public views products with what seems to be “high” added sugar amounts on the proposed label.