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Nutrition Facts Label Changes Drive Industry Reformulation

NutritionFacts2016

The original Nutrition Facts panel (left) versus the new panel (right)

Late last month the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized the new Nutrition Facts label on packaged foods, which includes some major changes to the nutrients required to be listed, the way the serving sizes are written, and the label design. The final rule becomes effective on July 26, 2016, and the compliance date is July 26, 2018, for manufacturers with $10 million or more in annual food sales and July 26, 2019, for manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales.

What impact will the changes have on ingredient and food manufacturers? Food Technology magazine recently spoke with Roger Legg, senior chemist at RL Food Testing Laboratory, about how manufacturers should prepare for the compliance dates and what the change may mean for them in terms of product development and reformulation moving forward. Continue reading

Can You Believe it’s Not Mayonnaise?

Hampton Creek's Just MayoIn 1979, food technologists at J.H. Filbert developed a new vegetable oil-based spread. It looked, tasted, and felt like butter, but it contained no dairy and was not butter. What should they call it? As the story goes, a secretary tried the product and exclaimed: “I can’t believe it’s not butter!” The rest, as they say, is history.

About 35 years later, food technologists helped Hampton Creek develop a new product that contains no eggs but looks, tastes, and feels like mayonnaise. The problem: A food product is “misbranded,” and therefore not legal to sell, if it purports to be a food for which a standard of identity has been prescribed but fails to conform to such standard. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established a standard of identity for “mayonnaise” that requires the product to contain egg. Therefore, like the Filbert folks, Hampton Creek had to decide what to name this new product. Continue reading

U.S. Supreme Court Paves Way for More False Advertising Disputes

Minute Maid Pomegranate Blueberry Flavored Blend of 5 JuicesOn June 12, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an 8-0 ruling in favor of Pom Wonderful in a longstanding false advertising dispute against rival beverage company The Coca-Cola Co. The Supreme Court held that competitors can bring Lanham Act claims like Pom Wonderful’s challenging food and beverage labels regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

At issue in the case was Coca-Cola’s “Pomegranate Blueberry Flavored Blend of 5 Juices,” which is 99% apple and grape juice. Pom Wonderful (Pom), who has a competing pomegranate-blueberry juice blend, sued Coca-Cola. It alleged that the juice’s name and other labeling features were misleading under the federal Lanham Act—a statute that allows competitors to sue based on the false or misleading description of goods (15 U.S.C. § 1125(a)). Keep Reading

Nutrition Facts Label Changes Mean New Challenges and Opportunities

Nutrition Facts labelThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published proposals to update the design and content of the Nutrition Facts label (NFL) and associated serving sizes on Feb. 27, 2014. Two factors driving the FDA changes are undeniable: consumers’ expressed desire for the labels to be easier to read and use; and outdated nutrition science and food consumption data that supported the 1993 regulations.

Consumer research shows that more than half of food shoppers are using nutrition labeling (IFIC, 2013; Todd, 2014). Even so, within the first years of use of the NFL, 70% of consumers expressed the need for the labels to be easier to read and use (Kristal, 1998; FMI, 1995). Evolving nutrition science, including new Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs), updated nationwide food consumption data, and up-to-date comprehensive, evidence-based Dietary Guidelines recommendations warrant changes. Keep Reading

Retailers, food manufacturers address packaging and sustainability

I’m glad to be one of the Co-chairs of the Global Packaging Project (GPP), because it’s a revolutionary, collaborative effort between retailers and brand owners from around the world to address packaging and sustainability. We’re working together to create a shared language, metrics, and procedures to help all of us make more sustainable business decisions. The GPP is sponsored by the Consumer Goods Forum, an industry group that brings together the CEOs and senior management from 400 retailers, manufacturers, service providers, and other stakeholders across 70 countries, which is truly impressive. Keep Reading