When coping with the latest changes to food labeling laws, it's worth looking at the different approaches regulators have taken around the world. These show which elements of foods are considered most relevant, and how expectations have changed over time. Furthermore, new programs overseas show possible directions for domestic changes in the months and years ahead.
Decision Finalized in France
One recent compelling example comes from France, where a comparative pilot program has recently wrapped up, leaving a five-part color scale as the winning option. Just-food explained that the new version of the health label is called Nutri-score, and combines letter grades from A to E with colors going from green to red.
Health Minister Marisol Touraine stated that the scale is specifically meant to help people pick healthy foods within categories. This is opposed to apples-to-oranges comparisons that would encourage wholesale dietary changes.
One reason the French decision is so relevant for the future of food labeling in general is that Nutri-score tested far better than other systems of nutritional content labeling. Just-food pointed out that the winning system did the best job of influencing consumers and pushing them toward healthy versions of foods.
The effects were especially strong among customers who purchased affordable items due to limited income. With regulators particularly keen to reverse worrying nutrition trends among low-income shoppers, the label system's utility is clear.
US Makes Its Own Changes
While France goes ahead with its major nutrition revision, U.S. agencies have approved their own, less drastic, changes. Food & Wine recently summarized the changes, pointing out everything from visual tweaks to newly required listings.
As an example of the former, the overall listing of calories in a products is now presented in a larger font than before. As for the latter, producers must now list how much Vitamin D and potassium their foods contain. Nutrient listings are also required to include amount listings as well as percentage daily values.
If you make products sold in the U.S., it's time to think about getting in compliance with the new standards. The source offered a reminder that small companies have longer than big producers to get up to date – until summer 2019 rather than 2018 – but that isn't a license to procrastinate.
Labeling Comes Home
Companies that bring production of food labels in-house rather than relying on third parties will be better prepared to deal with whatever changes come down the pipeline, whether they take the form of mandated regulatory shifts or exciting brand revamps. Argon Technology offers a wide range of printers in our U.S. store and on our Canadian site.