Package or Label Redesigns in the Future for Food Manufacturers

Package or Label Redesigns in the Future for Food Manufacturers

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is ready to give nutrition labels a much needed makeover.  According to an AP article, the FDA has sent updated guidelines to the White House for approval, though there is no indication yet as to when or if the new guidelines will be imposed or what they might entail.  

There are some changes that are likely however, as those in the FDA acknowledge that thinking on nutrition has changed since the labels were first introduced in the 1990s.  Some thoughts are that new labels will include a more prominent display of calories, along with additional information on sugar and wheat, along with clear serving sizes and a move for the label to the front of packages.

While few arguments can be made against the fact that such changes are both necessary and beneficial to the consumer, there will likely be at least some changes in the near future for those packaging foods.  At the very least, packagers will need to change the label they place on food products, assuming that new or different information will be required and/or that the nutrition label will need to be moved to the front.  At the other extreme, some food packagers may be changing formulas or ingredients should the new label requirements leave their product looking undesirable among competitors.  

While it continues to be business as usual until the new guidelines come out, it appears that the nutrition label will follow closely on the heels of the Foreign Supplier Verification Guidelines (FSVG) for food packagers, which requires food packagers to ensure that those who supply the packager with food products are following certain safety guidelines.  The trend appears to be to keep consumers safe and informed and the combination of the FSVG and new nutritional label guidelines may be only the beginning, given that more people are watching what they eat and many are not trusting of GMO's and ingredient lists that are hard to pronounce, much less understand.

If there is a negative, it is that packagers of food products are left waiting to see what will be required of them in the future, and the FDA needs to keep this in mind.  The packaging of food can include expensive machinery and processes, and in setting new guidelines, for the nutritional label or otherwise, the FDA needs to be careful not to punish or financially harm those that are producing good product.  At this point, however, it appears that they are striking somewhat of a balance between the consumers need to know and the packagers need to know, though the uncertainty that lies ahead is never pleasant for the packager.

Liquid Packaging Solutions, Inc. manufactures a wide range of packaging equipment for the Food and Beverage industry, including container cleaning equipment, filling machines, capping machines and custom machinery.  To read the AP article by Mary Clare Jalonick regarding the new guidelines for nutritional labels, click here.