A New Look for Food Labels
Understanding the New Nutrition Label
The Nutrition Facts label has recently received its most substantial update in two decades. At first glance, the new label may not seem all that different, but if you look closely you’ll notice that it’s been improved to provide more helpful nutrition information that realistically reflects the way we eat today.
As these labels are phased in by 2018 you can expect to see more user-friendly labels appearing on food packages everywhere. The new labels will have a greater focus on calories and serving size, new information indicating how much sugar is added, as well as an increased focus on nutrients that many Americans need more of.
At Kellogg’s, we would like to help you navigate these changes.
Serving Per Container
Because estimating the number of servings in a package can sometimes be confusing, servings per container has been moved up to the very top of the label and is displayed in larger type. This is illustrated here on the label for Kellogg’s Raisin Bran® cereal.
Serving size has been overhauled with easier-to-read, bigger, bolder type. To better reflect what people actually eat, serving sizes for some foods, such as bagels, muffins and cereal, have also been revamped. There are three allowable serving sizes for ready-to-eat cereal, depending on its weight.
Most people know that keeping calories in check is key for maintaining a healthy body weight. A larger font and bolder type makes the updated calorie figure more prominent and simpler to read. Research indicates that the kind of fat we eat is more important than the total amount.1 As a result, calories from fat has been removed.
Updated Daily Values
The Daily Values for nutrients like sodium, fiber and vitamin D have all been updated to reflect either current recommendations or recent scientific research. For example, the Daily Value for sodium has decreased slightly from 2,400 milligrams to 2,300 milligrams.
The Daily Value for fiber has increased from 25 to 28 grams. There is also a new definition for fiber and only fiber meeting the new definition may be included in grams on the label.
Total and Added Sugars
Sugar can be naturally present in foods such as raisins, while other times it’s functionally added to provide taste, color or texture. The new label includes added sugars under the total sugars figure to provide more information to help you manage your food choices.
It’s helpful to remember that added sugars can be part of a balanced diet. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration has acknowledged that some foods, including yogurt and cereal, contain significant amounts of beneficial nutrients, as well as added sugar. Right now the typical American consumes about 13% of their calories from added sugars, while dietary guidelines recommend less than 10% of calories from added sugar.
Vitamins and Minerals
Two new mandatory nutrients, Vitamin D and potassium, have been added to the label as Americans fall short of both of these nutrients.Vitamins A and C are no longer mandatory to be listed.
Better Clarity on Package Size
Even though we might not realize it, the size of a food’s package can influence how much we eat or drink.
For some smaller packages of food, it can be easy to consume the entire package in one sitting. Small packages of food that contain up to two times the standard serving size will now be labeled as a single serving. In addition, packages containing between two and three times the standard serving size will feature an additional column of nutrition information to show the nutrient content for both the standard serving size and the entire package.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “Final Rules to Update the Nutrition Facts Label.”
U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “The New and Improved Nutrition Facts Label – Key Changes.”
U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “Changes to the Nutrition Facts Label.”