American consumers are becoming more health-conscious by the day, effectively forcing food manufacturers to be diligent and descriptive in their labeling practices. What's more, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been highly active throughout 2016 in overhauling its regulations related to food labeling standards and provisions. Any company that produces food or beverages will need to remain agile in its labeling practices, and work to stay a step ahead of trends when it comes to meeting the demands of the modern consumer.
Although the regulations that have been released in the past few months are not going to take effect for more than a year, they are meant to fit the expectations of customers today. This means that trying to get the job done on labeling overhauls today can help companies get a step ahead of competitors that might be holding off on their own strategic changes until they are legally expected to do so. One of the biggest stories of this year in the food labeling arena has been added sugar disclosure.
Not Sitting Well
Tree Hugger recently reported that the FDA's May announcement that all food and beverage manufacturers would have to begin noting the amount of added sugar on labels has raised some debate from certain industries. For example, the source pointed out that the Sugar Association has called the legislative move an affront, arguing that the decision would actually set a "dangerous precedent" that could end up defying goals to improve the population's health in the United States. This argument was refuted by a nutritionist in a column for Scientific American shortly thereafter.
"The Association argues, correctly, that the sugars that occur naturally in fruits are biochemically identical to those added in manufacturing," Marion Nestle wrote, according to the news provider. "But this argument misses how added sugars dilute the nutritional value of food products. Much research supports the health benefits of eating fruit, whereas added sugars raise risks for obesity and other chronic conditions. The Sugar Association does not really care about science. It cares about what will happen to sales if people read labels and reject products with added sugars. This, of course, is one of the purposes of Added Sugars on food labels."
Regardless of how this debate goes in the coming 16 months or so, though, the FDA seems galvanized in its plans to begin enforcing the rule by 2018.
Lightning Labels Keeps You Up With The Times
Food and beverage manufacturers will be hurting their revenue-earning potential if they try to go against the grain with respect to expanded nutrition label contents. Consumers are very clearly demanding these changes be made, and have already begun to favor products that have accurate, comprehensive dietary information posted right on the packaging. By taking a proactive approach to getting these new items included on food and beverage labels, manufacturers can avoid a range of issues today and in the coming years.
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