Do you read food labels?
My little cousins were running around and laughing and us “bigger” cousins were cleaning up from the dinner madness and chatting about happenings of the world from Donald Trump to nutrition. Luckily, we breezed over Trump and discussed nutrition. My cousin, Erin, who is currently in school for Nutrition Management brought to our attention that the FDA is rolling out a new nutritional food label. Who knew? Not me.
If you’re like me and read labels regularly then this post applies to you. And there has been a rise of those who are reading labels in turn creating a demand for a more accurate interpretation of nutritional information. How many times have you read the serving size and said to yourself, “Yeah right.” or had to look at the label for 15 minutes to actually find what you were looking for?
The “New” Nutritional Label
The new nutritional label remains very similar in design, however lists the serving size and calories in bigger font. It also lists the amount of nutrients and not just the percentage amount. And for the grand finale, added sugar is now listed. I am personally a fan of that, but everything else? I am not too impressed. You can see the comparison below.
It is progress, but it could definitely be better. UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism combined forces with Good Magazine to create a user friendly nutritional label using the public’s preferences with creative designers. The submissions are not only visually appealing, but include imperative information including ingredients with picture descriptions relating to the most common food allergens, listing the amount of sodium added, and fiber removed. Here is one of my favorites by Joey Brunelle.
You can check out the winner and other submissions on Berkeley News 21.
Will a change in nutritional labels increase the amount of consumers reading them? I think if the design includes a more drastic change and adds color it has a chance. But there are thoughts that whoever reads them now will continue to read them and those don’t still won’t. Overall, we know people like bright and shiny things so I say let’s make nutritional labels bright and shiny!
When I read label it most definitely impacts my buying habits. I used to buy flour tortillas without hesitation, but then I looked at the nutritional label I saw the ridiculously long list of ingredients and preservatives. So now, I default to brown rice and corn tortilla that have a maximum of 4 ingredients.
When will I start seeing this on my food labels?
Maybe never? Just like anything else involving the government, it has to be thrown out, re-proposed, and revised x 1 billion. And don’t forget about those dollars aka lobbyists. I think the quote below sums it up.
Thanks to industry lobbying and pressure, the FDA is often slow to make meaningful policy changes to safeguard public health. For instance, the agency has been in the process of deciding whether to investigate an anti-bacterial chemical, triclosan, for over four decades. Congress first passed a law requiring the FDA to set guidelines for regulating the use of triclosan back in 1972 — but those rules still have not yet been finalized. Meanwhile, the chemical has been added to everything from toothpaste to kids’ toys. ThinkProgress
What would you like to see on nutrition labels?
There’s no better time than now,