Health Food Labeling is All the Buzz
As Non-GMO labeling debates line the airwaves, cultural norms take a massive shift towards more natural food alternatives. Consumers are reading health food labels now, more than ever before and food producers find themselves having to redesign their labels and packaging in an effort to keep their products relevant and stand out on grocery store shelves.
Recent studies show an shift in consumers purchasing trends, with more and more people making buying decisions based on the ‘healthfulness’ of a product rather than price and taste alone. In addition to these buying trends, many consumers find themselves shopping at specialty health food stores in an attempt to introduce themselves to more mindful products and a wider variety of health food options. So what does that mean for the food producers?
That is a question that has raised a lot of attention from not only food producers, but also health food retail buyers and the Food & Drug Administration labeling guidelines department. With more products making nutritional value claims, using labeling terms like Fat-Free, Light and All Natural, the label guru’s at the FDA realize that not all these claims do in-fact mean healthier food alternatives.
Health Food Label Guidelines and The FDA
In short, the Food & Drug Administration is looking for ways to tighten the health food compliance guidelines and differentiate health options from those masking themselves as mindful choices when they are in fact loaded with sugar and byproducts.
While it is important for producers to understand what types of health food factors influence buying decisions, it is imperative that they also understand what constitutes a valid health food claim and how to properly label their products. By doing so, not only are health food producers better able to design labels that help them sell their products but they are able to identify fraudulent products that might be intruding on their market share. In the long run, the more producers know and understand health food labeling guidelines, the easier it will be to communicate superior products to a health conscience audience.
Health Food Content Label Claims
Health food content label claims are made all the time. By simply opening your fridge, you are likely to find items claiming to be fat-free, low in sodium, or light. Unfortunately, consumers are learning that those claims don’t always mean a more healthy food product. Any item that is made by process, i.e.; engineered to alter the core ingredients of a whole food can only claim their products are ‘free’, ‘low’ or ‘without benefit of special processing, alteration, formulation or reformulation’; e.g., “broccoli, a fat-free food” or “celery, a low calorie food”. If the core whole food ingredient is not considered ‘fat-free’, or ‘low in sodium’, than the engineered byproduct through manufacture is not authorized to make the claim.
Health Food Nutrient Label Claims
Never mind content claims, what about nutritional value claims? How many times have you seen health food products that claim to cure you from certain ailments or prevent you from getting certain diseases by simple consumption of the product? The FDA has cracked down on these nutritional labels claims, mandating that health food labels use words like “may, could or might” on their labels to avoid giving the impression that their products alone are capable of overall better health or disease prevention.
An example of this would be a carton of milk. Not long ago consumers would see labels that claimed milk would “prevent osteoporosis” and “ensure strong bones”. Today, the same milk producers have traded in these broad label claims for more model statements like “adequate calcium throughout life, as part of a well-balanced diet” and “may reduce the risk of osteoporosis”.
For other examples or to learn more about health food labeling and FDA guidelines visit www.fda.gov. For questions related to health food labeling contact ImageTek Labels at firstname.lastname@example.org or by call (866) 403-5223. You may request a white page on FDA labeling guidelines by clicking here.