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4 Ways to Create Brand Meaning with the New FDA Label Update

4 Ways to Create Brand Meaning with the New FDA Label Update

CHICAGO, June 30th, 2016

Out with the old and in with the new! The Nutrition Facts panel is getting a makeover, so it’s time for your brand to make a decision. This is your opportunity to simply comply with the new label standards, redesign packaging, or reformulate your brand’s on-shelf and digital strategy altogether. 

For the first time in 20 years, the FDA has finalized updates to the Nutrition Facts panel in hopes to better assist consumers make healthier food and beverage purchases. In this article, see what’s changing, what’s staying the same, and why your brand should follow suit to create an updated package design that deepens brand meaning and consumer loyalty. 

Rather than being tasked to complete the mathematics behind the complex details of the current Nutrition Facts panel, consumers are looking for a clearer way to determine whether or not a product is healthy. The finalized FDA updates will help consumers do just that -- without the need of pulling out a calculator or modifying their diet.

Some basic formatting updates include: 

•    Highlighting calories and serving size in bold type
•    Declaring the actual amount and percent Daily Value of mandatory vitamins and minerals
•    Including the “Added Sugars” row beneath “Total Sugars” 
•    Changing the footnote to better explain the percent Daily Value

All food exported to the United States will need to meet these requirements as well. So, why does the label update matter? Who actually makes buying decisions based on the label? Will consumers actually change the way they consume packaged foods and beverages as a result? Here are 4 ways to maximize the new FDA label requirements and turn the update into a competitive brand advantage.

Feature a refreshed design. 

Brands spend millions on making sure they remain relevant to their consumers through packaging design. Rather than viewing the FDA changes as a mandatory burden, brands should think of the label update as a way to refresh packaging by only touching the pack once.

Maybe it is time for your brand to reconsider its position in a particular category. Perhaps you were anticipating an upcoming package refresh anyway; so now is the perfect time to optimize claims on-pack to better communicate product details.  

Brands must also keep in mind; the storytelling doesn’t have to stop at the package. Showcase your brand’s history and unique story by using the package as its vehicle – maintaining consistency online and at the point of sale. With an increased prominence on packaging, it’s extremely important to make use of design codes to create meaningful changes. The refreshed package design will help consumers understand how your products fit into their lives and will motivate them to buy more and stay loyal to the brand.

Reflect updated information about nutrition science. 

As food consumption changes in America, so should the Nutrition Facts label. After all, this is what consumers use to educate themselves on what they are eating. By reflecting consumer trends and nutrition science on-pack, consumers are able to make more informed decisions about the food they purchase. 

In hopes to stay relevant and preferred throughout the label refresh, companies may choose to reformulate recipes in order to stay competitive. As the “Added Sugars” row gets included on the label, brands may make an effort to reduce the sugars added during production, while others may pursue new products that are not heavy on added sugars. 

Serving sizes have also changed drastically since the last major label update. Now, the label must reflect serving sizes matching what people typically consume rather than how much they should consume. An example references an 8-ounce soda; of which used to declare one serving will now change to 12 ounces. Duel labeling will help enrich the consumer’s understanding and guide behavior.  

Tune into consumer trends. 

The average shopper spends 13 seconds making a decision in-store regarding a product, so there’s no doubt the package and label play a huge role in the process. The claims that appear on-pack must be eye-catching and exude the messaging and nutritional value shoppers are looking for. 

The Nutrition Facts label reflects a growing consumer need to eat more consciously for health reasons and to align their values with trustworthy brands. For the past decade there has been a growing consumer demand for simplistic and wholesome nutrition, which has created new categories entirely – shaping established categories like natural and organic brands. 

The food industry has also made incredible steps in issuing sustainable sourcing compelling to consumers. By refreshing your product recipe and packaging in a way that supports social responsibility, CPG brands can create a safe, supportive and environmentally responsible product – opening the doors to attract new customers. 

Create a long-lasting experience. 

Now, more than ever, CPG brands must demonstrate value beyond price, and offer trust in their nutritional standards. This presents the opportunity to do so much more with packaging, by creating never-before-seen innovations and experiences with the product. 

McDonald's has achieved success with this concept by creating “virtual reality” packaging -- allowing consumers to turn their golden-arched boxes into a viewing portal to play online games. While brands focus more on these trends, the new FDA label is the perfect time to update package designs and create meaningful, shareable experiences. 

Manufacturers must implement the new FDA label by July 26, 2018 – however, those with less than $10 million in annual food sales will be granted an additional year to comply. 

To ensure your brand leverages the new FDA Nutrition Facts label and complies with the requirements on time, visit Schawk’s Label Central for more resources, a free assessment test, and a special webinar presented by SGK’s labeling expert, Carol Best. 

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