Although it took two decades to come to fruition, the sometimes ignored and often misunderstood food label is finally getting a facelift.
In May 2016, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced its proposed modifications to the Nutrition Facts Panel (NFP), and by the end of July 2018, all foods and beverages that wear labels will be showing off a new look. Besides shining a brighter light on “calories” and “serving size,” change is coming to one of the most maligned words in the world of food: sugar.
For the first time we will now be able to see the difference between natural sugar (the sugar inherently within fruit and milk, for example) and added sugar (the sugar put into the product by the manufacturer) on the manufacturer’s label. Sugar may become the hottest item on the label and, hopefully, with both the NFP and ingredient list, this will become a more transparent route to figuring out what you’re really eating.
KIND Becomes the First Company to Roll Out New Food Labels
One company has actually moved up the label makeover process without waiting until 2018. KIND famous for their snack bars, stepped up to the plate to become the first national snack brand to publish the added sugar content in their products so that consumers can make informed food choices based upon clear information. They’ve already started creating the designs of the new NFP for wrappers and boxes, but don’t expect to see those changes immediately — on-pack labels take some time to roll out to your local grocer. Fans can expect to see select product lines with the new labels in early 2017 with the rest on shelves by 2018.
With increased consumer demand surrounding the right to know what’s in our food, these new labels will help decode what’s natural and what isn’t. KIND intends to continue to make good on their commitment to use recognizable ingredients that contain as little sugar as possible without sacrificing the flavor and quality.
More Than Half of Us Use the Nutrition Facts Panel. Are You One of Them?
Though surveys show that only about 60 percent of us actually flip a package over to read the food label, let’s hope that other companies will reformulate their portfolios and follow KIND’s lead in shaving some added sugar from their ingredient lists. Added sugar, by the way, also includes items that are not spelled s-u-g-a-r, but act just like it, including molasses, high fructose corn syrup, organic cane juice, and so on. Sugar is the master of disguise and hopefully our new labels will help reveal where it has been hiding for far too long.
This story was originally posted on my Nutrition Intuition Blog for Everyday Health.