Five Biggest Struggles with FDA’s New Nutrition Label: The Cost


Here are five of the biggest struggles companies are likely to encounter under FDA's new nutrition label proposal.

The biggest change that will rock food companies? The cost to re-label, whether to make minor changes, such as adjusting nutrient quantities, or major changes, such as adding an additional nutrition facts panel if a product contains multiple serving sizes. FDA estimates that overall industry-wide relabeling costs could span $1,073 million–$3,083 million, with an estimated midrange cost of $1,876 million (in 2011 dollars), assuming that the amount of time companies are given to become compliant is two years. FDA estimates that approximately 60,000 manufacturers and 700,000 Universal Product Codes (UPCs) will be affected by the need to alter labeling.

FDA also estimates the cost of reformulating products: $103 million–$905 million, with a midrange estimate of $440 million (in 2011 dollars). This includes products whose current “eligibility” to make health and nutrient content claims may change.

Braithwaite says ESHA Research is already in the process of ensuring that its Food Processor database and Genesis nutrition labeling software, which helps companies create FDA-compliant labels, will comply with FDA’s newly proposed regulations. She says the company has already added a proposed label in the new format to its Genesis software so that customers can compare the old and new labeling formats. If the proposed changes become law, the Genesis software would be adapted to include changes in graphic formatting for all of the different sizes and shapes of both Nutrition Facts and Supplement Facts labels. The changes would also include updates to the Daily Value nutritional standards for all age groups, and Added Sugars would be added and populated as a new nutritional component.

“I think the biggest challenge for product manufacturers will be deciding whether or not to reformulate their products,” she says. “Industry may be motivated to reformulate to maintain health and nutrient content claims, and also to make products more attractive to consumers.”




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